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New York Police Defuse Car Bomb In Times Square

Police on Saturday  defused a car bomb in the heart of New York's famous tourist hub of Times Square after evacuating thousands of visitors, residents and theatre- goers from the area, averting what could have
PTI May 02, 2010 15:38 IST
PTI


Police on Saturday  defused a car bomb in the heart of New York's famous tourist hub of Times Square after evacuating thousands of visitors, residents and theatre- goers from the area, averting what could have been a "very deadly event" in the US.

Traffic was stopped and redirected to the surrounding areas as police closed down a section of Times Square after a foot patrol officer spotted a parked Sports Utility Vehicle identified as a Nissan Pathfinder around 6:30 pm Saturday evening (4:00 am ISI Sunday).

The officer noticed a box inside the vehicle with smoke coming out of it. The car parked in a crowded area was later found to be loaded with a bomb made of electrical components, three propane gas tanks and two additional gas canisters.

 Soon after hotels, shops and restaurants in and around the Times Square were shut down and thousands of people, including tourists, residents and theatre-goers, evacuated from the area.

"We are very lucky... (to) avoid what could have been a very deadly event," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a hurriedly-organised press conference. "The bomb squad confirmed that the suspicious vehicle indeed did contain an explosive device."

He said the bomb was homemade and "looked amateurish."

Earlier, Deputy Commissioner Paul J Browne, Police Department's chief spokesman, was quoted as saying by the 'New York Times' that "it appears to be a car bomb left in a Pathfinder between Seventh and Eighth" Avenues on 45th Street.

The device, he said, contained "explosive elements" that included "propane tanks, some kind of powder, gasoline and a timing device."

"This is very much an active investigation," he was quoted as saying.

A bomb squad was sent to the scene but the package did not explode.

Police blocked the area from West 43rd to 47th streets along Broadway and Seventh Avenue with metal railings. Parts of 48th Street were also closed.

"We haven't identified any kind of a motive," Browne said, adding no one was in custody.

 President Obama commended the "excellent work" of the New York Police Department (NYPD) for defusing the "bomb crisis" at Times Square.

At about 1045 pm (local time), the President was updated on the excellent work by the NYPD in relation to the incident in Times Square," White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said in a late night statement. PTI