Two bombs exploded in NJ and NYC on Saturday. Initially, an explosion in a garbage container near a Marine Corps charity run in New Jersey took place at around 9:30am local time. No injuries were reported but the partial blast delayed the start of the race in which more than 5,000 runners participated. Later, investigators in New Jersey discovered three pipe-bomb-type devices wired together near the boardwalk.
In the evening, across the Hudson River, a second bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, at around 8:30pm (local time), injuring 29 people, all of whom have been released from the hospital after receiving medical treatment. The blast in front of 135 W. 23rd St. between Sixth and Seventh avenues was called “an act of terrorism” by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
On Sunday, the NYPD commissioner confirmed to reporters that the investigation had discovered “some component indicative of an IED.”
“We definitely had a bombing last night on 23rd Street and we had a suspicious device on 27th Street,” James O’Neill said.
As emergency and investigative teams rushed to the scene of the explosion, New York State police troopers discovered a second “suspicious secondary device” a few blocks away.
A massive investigation is underway looking for possible links between the five improvised explosive devices (IED) that were discovered in New York City and those in New Jersey.
Authorities have identified a suspect in the Manhattan explosion case as a 28-year-old New Jersey resident of Afghan descent who may be armed and dangerous.
Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI, William Sweeney told reporters on Sunday that an FBI-NYPD Joint Terrorism Taskforce, comprised of over 50 agencies, is analyzing evidence to see if all or any of the crime scenes are connected. The Department of Homeland Security is also actively monitoring and participating in the investigations.
In Other parts of the USA, Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has claimed the man who stabbed eight people in a Minnesota shopping mall on Saturday as one of its “soldiers,” without specifying if the still-unnamed suspect, who was shot dead, was in direct contact with the Islamist group.
“The executor of the stabbing attacks in Minnesota yesterday was a soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of countries belonging to the crusader coalition,” said a statement published by Amaq, a news agency associated with the group.
A man dressed in a private security guard uniform stabbed eight people in the Crossroads Center Mall in St. Cloud, a city 100km northwest of Minneapolis-St. Paul. He was then killed by an off-duty policeman from another jurisdiction. None of the victims sustained life-threatening wounds, and all but one have been discharged from the hospital.
Eyewitnesses reported that the man asked at least one person if they were a Muslim during the rampage, while others said that his words referenced Allah. Police, who have chosen not to reveal the identity of the perpetrator until further investigation, said he had previously accumulated three minor charges, none of them linked with terrorism.
The FBI says it is now investigating the attack as a terrorist incident.
Islamic State has repeatedly called for its supporters to stage terrorist attacks in the West, and has often praised their executors as their “soldiers” in public statements.