News / USA

Manhunt Underway for Suspected Would-be NYC Car Bomber

New York City Police disarmed a bomb inside a sport utility vehicle in the city's busy theater district on Saturday night, avoiding what officials say could have been a "very deadly event."  Law enforcement officials are looking through hours of video surveillance tapes and examining other evidence to find the person responsible for what authorities say could have been an act of terrorism.

Law enforcement officials in New York are looking for a white male in his 40s who might be connected with a failed bomb attempt in the city's busy Times Square district.

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "Clearly it was the intent of whoever did this to cause mayhem to create casualties.  This is just a sober reminder that New York is clearly a target of people who want to come here and do us harm."

During a press conference Sunday, Kelly said that video footage recorded a suspicious man changing his shirt near the vehicle shortly after it apparently was parked in Times Square.  He said investigators are interviewing a tourist who believes he might have photographed the suspect.

Law enforcement officials say they found several containers of an unknown substance as well as three propane tanks, fireworks, two gasoline containers, and two clocks with batteries inside the vehicle.

Police quickly evacuated thousands of people from the area and closed off nearby streets while they disarmed the bomb.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the "amateurish-looking car bomb" could have had serious consequences. "We avoided what could've been a very deadly event; certainly could've exploded and had a pretty big fire and a decent amount of explosive impact," he said.

The car bomb was discovered when a T-shirt vendor spotted smoke coming from the unoccupied vehicle and alerted police.   

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says the attempt to blow up explosive devices in one of the busiest districts of Manhattan, "certainly looked" like "it was intended" to be an act of terrorism. "We're taking it very seriously.  It was parked in an area with a lot of traffic.  It's too soon to tell who was responsible or what groups were responsible.  So every possible examination of the device and forensics is being done," she said.

Times Square draws millions of tourists to its theaters and restaurants each year.  The Department of Homeland Security did not raise the nation's terrorism threat level after the incident.

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