Investigators on Sunday sifted through blast remnants, examined video and scoured the scene of an explosion that wounded 29 people in Manhattan, attempting to establish if there were any links to international terrorism.
The explosion on a commercial and residential street in New York City’s Chelsea district on Saturday night sent a deafening roar and a powerful shock wave through several blocks, wounding people with shrapnel and flying glass. All 29 victims were released from the hospital, officials said on Sunday.
Mayor Bill de Blasio pleaded for any witnesses to provide tips and promised a security presence that would be “bigger than ever” for the United Nations General Assembly bringing together world leaders in Manhattan for six days starting on Tuesday.
NEW YORK BLAST – With so little known about the attack, officials said they would deploy an additional 1,000 state police and National Guard to sensitive areas such as transportation hubs.
Federal Bureau of Investigation investigators will examine remnants of the bomb plus an unexploded device found four blocks away as well as a pipe bomb that exploded about 80 miles (130 km) away in New Jersey on Saturday to see if they were connected, officials said.
Police recovered video from both scenes in Manhattan including images of the explosion itself, New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.
New York police, the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives converged on the site for their first daylight view of the site of the explosion, cordoning it off and placing dozens of evidence markers on the ground. Police closed several surrounding blocks to traffic.
“We are in the middle of a very complex post-blast investigation,” O’Neill said.
Although no international group had claimed responsibility, New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo said detonating a bomb in New York City “is obviously an act of terrorism.”
But the mayor resisted on Sunday when reporters pressed him to call the blast an act of terrorism, saying investigators had yet to determine if there was a political motivation. There were no obvious political targets on the block.
“It was intentional. It was a violent act. It was a certainly a criminal act. It was a bombing. That’s what we know,” said de Blasio, flanked by high-ranking officials of the FBI and the city police and fire departments.
“It could have been something personally motivated. We don’t know yet,” de Blasio said.