NYPD Looking For White Male Over Attempted Times Square Bombing

By Peter Fowler at 2 May 2010

New York Police are looking for a white male in his 40s as the investigation into the attempted bombing of Times Square continues, but say there is "no evidence" of Taliban involvement.

NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said at a press conference a short time ago that the incendiary device found inside the Nissan Pathfinder would have caused a "significant fireball" and "a lot of shrapnel."

"We were lucky that it didn't detonate," he said. "A terrorist act doesn't necessarily have to be conducted by an organisation, an individual can do it on their own," he said in response to questions about whether it was a terrorist attack.

Mr Kelly said a white male in his forties was caught on surveillance cameras looking back in the direction of West 45th Street where the vehicle was parked. He was wearing a dark coloured shirt with a red one underneath, and removed the dark tee shirt and put it into a bag he was carrying. The man was looking around suspiciously.

He said all the bomb components were "locally available materials."

Police used an explosive charge to breach a gun locker found in the back of the vehicle which was found to contain eight bags of an unknown substance and wires and firecrackers. Mr Kelly said investigators are working to identify the unknown substance, which "had look and feel of fertiliser."

Combined with the propane tanks and gasoline also found in the car is was a potentially lethal device in a place heavily populated with tourists, he said, but Police are unsure why it failed to detonate. It appears fireworks were the trigger for the advice.

Mr Kelly said the NYPD evacuated thousands of people from Times Square including parts of the Marriot Hotel once the alarm was raised.

He said video footage shows the suspect vehicle entering Times Square at approximately 6:28pm, with a local vendor notifying a mounted officer of the suspicious vehicle 2 minutes later. The officer radioed for additional assistance and four other police kept people away while the bomb squad investigated.

All of Times Square was later reopened by 7:20am Sunday morning.

The NYPD is combing through hundreds of hours of video surveillance and asked members public to come forward if they had any information.

Mr Kelly said there were 82 surveillance cameras in the area of interest and 30 of the cameras had been looked at, with three having some value. Also an individual had come forward claiming to have home video which may show a person leaving the scene, although that had not yet been analyzed.

A which monitors terrorist web sites claims the Taliban in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the alleged attempted car bombing in Times Square in a video posted on You Tube.

The privately owned company SITE Intelligence claims the Taliban in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing in a You Tube video, saying it was revenge for the death of its leader Baitullah Mehsud and the recent killings of the top al Qaeda leaders in Iraq.

However Mr Kelly said there was "no evidence" to support this claim, or the claim of another individual who had rung New York Police to claim responsibility. He said "numerous" organisations normally come forward in such situations to claim responsibility.

The Nissan Pathfinder had not been reported stolen and the owner has been identified, while the license plate belonged to a car being repaired in Connecticut.

(C) NewsRoom America 2010


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