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Homeland Security

Small Explosion Rattles New York's Times Square

By Margaret Besheer
New York
06 March 2008

Authorities in New York City say a small explosive device detonated near a U.S. military recruiting station in the Times Square district of the city. The blast happened in the very early hours Thursday morning. From New York, VOA's Margaret Besheer has more.

City officials say the small explosion happened shortly before four in the morning local time, causing some damage to a small kiosk used by the U.S. military as a recruiting office, but no injuries. Guests at hotels as far as several blocks away said they could feel the building shake.

At a press conference, City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the device was not sophisticated and was in a small box. He said one witness reported seeing a man on a bicycle in the area of the explosion shortly before it happened, but the witness did not say that he saw the bicyclist plant, throw or detonate the device.

"He saw an individual riding on a bicycle right here on the island in what he described as a suspicious manner," said Commissioner Kelly. "This individual was wearing a hood and dark colored clothing. He was also carrying a backpack, or wearing a backpack. He did not see this individual's face and was not able to give us a complete description."

Commissioner Kelly said police are reviewing footage from video cameras from hotels and businesses in the area as part of their investigation.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg condemned the perpetrators and said such actions would not affect life in the city.

"Whoever the coward is that committed this disgraceful act on our city will be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he said. "We will not tolerate such attacks, nor will we let them destroy our freedom to live peacefully and safely in the greatest city in the world."

Police and fire crews cordoned off Times Square and diverted subway trains for several hours, but normal traffic resumed by the start of the morning rush hour.

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