29 injured in explosion in New York City

Mayor De Blasio said the blast was “an intentional act” and tried to calm any fears among nervous New Yorkers, saying the explosion had no terrorist connection.
Police and firefighters work near the scene of an apparent explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, in New York. Andres Kudacki / AP Photo
Police and firefighters work near the scene of an apparent explosion in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighbourhood, in New York. Andres Kudacki / AP Photo

NEW YORK // An explosion in a crowded Chelsea neighbourhood in Manhattan on Saturday night that injured 29 people was described by authorities as an “intentional act” with no terrorist connection.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio said a second site was under investigation.

Mr De Blasio said the blast was “an intentional act” and tried to calm fears among New Yorkers, saying the explosion had no terrorist connection and was not related to a pipe bomb explosion earlier that in New Jersey at a charity run.

A law enforcement official said the explosion appeared to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building.

New York officials said the incident was not the result of a gas leak.

It happened on West 23rd street, in front of a residence for the blind, near a major thoroughfare with many restaurants. Officials said no evacuation of buildings were necessary.

Police spokesman J Peter Donald said several people were taken to hospitals with injuries. One of the injured suffered a puncture wound which was considered serious. Officials said the other injuries were minor, described as scrapes and bruises.

Mr Donald tweeted a warning to residents near the second site that officials were investigating, saying: “As a precautionary measure, we are asking residents who live on West 27th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in Manhattan to stay away from windows facing 27th Street until we clear the suspicious.”

A number of New York City subway routes were affected by the first explosion.

Chris Gonzalez, visiting from Dallas, Texas, was eating at a restaurant in the neighbourhood.

“We felt it, we heard it, the restaurant went real quiet,” the 26-year-old said. “It wasn’t like jolting or anything, everyone just went quiet.”

Rudy Alcide, a doorman at Vanity Nightclub at 21st Street and 6th Avenue, said he, at first, thought something large had fallen.

“It was an extremely loud noise, everything was shaking, the windows were shaking, it was crazy,” he said. “It was extremely loud, almost like thunder, but louder.”

The FBI and Homeland Security officials, along with the ATF arson and explosive task force were also at the scene.

The White House said president Barack Obama was updated with developments.

In St Cloud, Minnesota, police said several people were injured at a shopping mall on Saturday evening in an attack that possibly involved a shooting and stabbing.

The suspect was believed to be dead.

Hillary Clinton, a former New York senator and Democrat presidential candidate, said she was briefed “about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota”.

“We have to let this investigation unfold,” she said.

The reports of a possible blast come hours after a pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, shortly before thousands of runners participated in a charity 5 kilometres race to benefit marines and sailors. No injuries were reported.

* Associated Press

Published: September 18, 2016 04:00 AM

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