Times Square Recruiting Station Bombed
An Armed Forces Recruiting Station in New York’s Times Square was hit with an improvised explosive at 3:45 this morning.
Investigation is still underway but, as of this writing,
The police have attributed the blast to an improvised explosive device, and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the device had been placed in an ammunition box like the kind that can be bought at a military supply store. Mr. Kelly spoke with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a news conference at 9:30 a.m. in Times Square. The authorities are looking into a possible connection to two earlier bombings at foreign consulates in Manhattan, in 2005 and 2007. Officials said that in today’s attack, a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt was seen leaving the scene on a bicycle. Subways and traffic are running normally through Times Square.
Terrorism is, of course, a concern.
The Department of Homeland Security said it was examining whether there was a terrorism link to the explosion.
“If it is something that’s directed toward American troops then it’s something that’s taken very seriously and is pretty unfortunate,” said Army Capt. Charlie Jaquillard, who is the commander of Army recruiting in Manhattan. He said no one was inside the station, where the Marines, Air Force and Navy also recruit.
The police department’s bomb squad, ATF agents and members of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force were at the scene assisting the probe.
Given the timing and size of the blast, though, I’m guessing it’s some disgruntled wannabe recruit or misguided antiwar activist rather than an organized terrorist operation. The police chief seems to agree, noting, “This was not a particularly sophisticated device.” On the other hand, one takes reasonable precautions: “After the incident, the Army sent an alert to the 1,650 Army recruiting stations across the country, said Douglas Smith of the U.S. Army Recruiting Command.”
CNN notes this twist, however:
The blast is similar to two other incidents in New York, one in October and one in May 2005. Both times an explosive device was detonated around 3 a.m.
In the October incident, a bomb was detonated near the Mexican consulate, shattering windows. At that time the authorities said the explosive device was similar to the ones used in a May 2005 blast at the British consulate.
In both cases, authorities were looking for a person spotted riding a bicycle in the area.
If the three incidents are related — and all that seems to tie them together is the size of the blast, the time of day, and a bicycle — it may just be a thrillseeker with no real political agenda.