Five suspicious devices found in backpack in New Jersey

One of the devices exploded as a robot was trying to disarm it.
Police officers patrolling near the scene of a 'pipe bomb-style device' explosion on September 17, 2016 in Seaside Park, New Jersey.  Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP
Police officers patrolling near the scene of a 'pipe bomb-style device' explosion on September 17, 2016 in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Mark Makela/Getty Images/AFP

ELIZABETH, NEW JERSEY // Up to five suspicious devices were found in a backpack in a rubbish can near a New Jersey train station, one of which exploded as a bomb squad was attempting to disarm it, the local mayor and media said on Monday.

As a robot examined one device it “cut a wire and it exploded”, the mayor of the town of Elizabeth, Christian Bollwage, told CNN.

The bag was discovered by two men scavenging trash around 8.30pm local time on Sunday, near the Elizabeth train station on New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor rail line.

The men had reported seeing wires and a pipe coming out of the package, Mr Bollwage said.

There was no immediate report of injuries or damage. The mayor warned that other explosions were expected.

Trains traveling through Elizabeth from New Jersey’s local transit line and Amtrak had been suspended, the mayor said.

Amtrak said 2,400 passengers were affected and that trains were being brought into other stations for people to get other transportation.

It was not clear when the Elizabeth station would be open, a threat to cause major issues on the Monday morning commute into New York.

The discovery of the suspicious package comes a day after an explosion in Manhattan injured 29 people, and an unexploded pressure-cooker device was found four blocks away.

Also on Saturday, a pipe bomb exploded about an hour from the Elizabeth train station in Seaside Park, New Jersey, forcing the cancellation of a military charity 5K run.

Officials said it did not appear that those two incidents were connected, though they were not ruling anything out.

Investigators did not comment on whether they thought the Elizabeth incident was connected to either of the two blasts.

Bollwage said that he wasn’t willing to say that Elizabeth had become a target, and that it was possible that someone worried about the authorities was trying to get rid of the package.

“I’m extremely concerned for the residents of the community, but more importantly extremely concerned for everyone in the state and country where someone can just go and drop a backpack into a garbage can that has multiple explosives in it with no timers and then you have to wonder how many people could have been hurt,” Bollwage said.

* Agence France-Presse and Associated Press

Published: September 19, 2016 04:00 AM

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