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29 people injured after 'intentional' explosion in New York neighbourhood

Mayor Bill de Blasio said there was no terrorist connection.

Image: Andres Kudacki/AP

AN EXPLOSION IN a crowded Manhattan neighbourhood last night left 29 people injured, and authorities said a second nearby site was also being investigated.

“Tonight, New York City experienced a very bad incident,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference near the scene in Chelsea. “We have no credible and specific threat at this moment.”

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 and wasn’t related to a pipe bomb explosion earlier yesterday in New Jersey at a charity run.

A law enforcement official said a second device officers were investigating four blocks from the scene appeared to be a pressure cooker attached to wiring and a cellphone. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak about an ongoing investigation, said the device was found inside a plastic bag on West 27th Street.

The law enforcement official also said the explosion appears to have come from a construction toolbox in front of a building.

Photos from the scene show a twisted and crumpled black metal box.

Tweet by @Adrian Arambulo Source: Adrian Arambulo/Twitter

Can’t watch the video? Click here

The blast happened on West 23rd Street, in front of a residence for the blind, near a major thoroughfare with many restaurants and a supermarket. Witnesses say the explosion at about 8:30pm blew out the windows of businesses and scattered debris in the area. Officials said no evacuations were necessary.

Injuries

Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro said several people were taken to hospitals with injuries. One of the injured suffered a puncture wound that was considered serious. He said the other injuries were minor, described as scrapes and bruises.

Police spokesman J Peter Donald tweeted a warning to residents near the second site officials are investigating.

Tweet by @J. Peter Donald Source: J. Peter Donald/Twitter

A number of New York City subway routes were affected by the explosion, which rattled some New Yorkers just a week after the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Rudy Alcide, a bouncer 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 an arson and explosive task force were also at the scene.

Clinton and Trump

The White House said President Barack Obama has been apprised of the explosion and will be updated as additional information becomes available.

In St Cloud, Minnesota, police said multiple people were injured at a shopping mall yesterday evening in an attack that possibly involved both a shooting and stabbing. The suspect was believed to be dead.

Hillary Clinton said she has been briefed “about the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the attack in Minnesota”.

She said the nation needs to support its first responders and “pray for the victims”.

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

Manhattan Explosion The scene this morning Source: Craig Ruttle/AP

Donald Trump moved ahead of New York City officials when he declared a “bomb went off” in the city before officials had released details. He made the announcement minutes after stepping off his plane during a rally at an airport hangar in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I must tell you that just before I got off the plane a bomb went off in New York and nobody knows what’s going on,” Trump said.

But boy we are living in a time — we better get very tough, folks. We better get very, very tough. It’s a terrible thing that’s going on in our world, in our country and we are going to get tough and smart and vigilant.

The Republican presidential nominee made the comments around 9.10pm, shortly after the explosion and as emergency officials responded to the blast. A spokeswoman for Trump did not respond to an email asking whether he was briefed about the incident before taking the stage.

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 5km race to benefit Marines and sailors. No injuries were reported.

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