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Texas Rattled by 5th Package Bomb Explosion


FBI agents work at a scene near the site of Sunday's explosion, March 19, 2018, in Austin, Texas.

A package bomb has exploded at a Federal Express facility overnight near San Antonio, Texas, and authorities are trying to determine if it is linked to recent blasts in the city of Austin.

One person was injured in the latest blast. Federal agents are at the scene.

The package was reported to be headed for Austin, which has been hit by four blasts this month.

Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Michelle Lee said "it would be silly for us not to admit that we suspect it's related" to the previous bombings. Lee did not provide a description of the package.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said local, state and federal authorities are working together to solve the case.

"This is obviously a very, very sick individual or maybe individuals. These are sick people and we will get to the bottom it, " the president said. "We have a lot of power over there. We're looking, not easy to find. But these are sick people and we have to find them as soon as possible."

U.S. investigators say a bomb that exploded late Sunday in Austin was set off by a tripwire and was "more sophisticated" than the devices used in three previous blasts earlier this month.

Authorities say two men, both in their early 20s, were injured in the latest explosion to rock the capital of the southwestern U.S. state. Austin police chief Brian Manley said both victims sustained "significant injuries" in the incident, but were in stable condition in a local hospital.

He said investigators "have seen similarities in the device that exploded here last night and the other three devices that have exploded in Austin starting on March 2." The earlier explosions killed two people and injured two others.

FBI agent Christopher Combs said the use of a tripwire to detonate the bomb in the latest blast "changes things. It’s more sophisticated. It’s not targeted to individuals. We’re very concerned that with tripwires, a child could be walking down a sidewalk and hit something." The previous explosions were package bombs left on people's doorsteps and were set off when the victims picked them up.

Combs said it was "very important" that Austin residents stay away from anything they might "consider to be suspicious."

Police are also investigating the bombings as possible hate crimes. The first three explosions killed two African American men and left a 75-year-old Hispanic woman fighting for her life. But the latest victims are white.

In a posting on Twitter, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders said "We are committed to bringing perpetrators of these heinous acts to justice. There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time."

Authorities have offered a $100,000 reward for anyone who can offer law enforcement agencies information leading to arrests and convictions of those responsible for the explosions.

"We need this to stop," Combs said.

Authorities have called out to the person and people detonating the bombs to reach out to police to talk about why they are setting off the explosions.

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