QUEBEC-RESEARCH-L ArchivesArchiver > QUEBEC-RESEARCH > 2008-03 > 1204836391
Subject: [Q-R] Bomb damages Times Square...................................
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 15:46:31 EST
Bomb damages Times Square military recruiting station; police seek cyclist
NEW YORK - A small bomb caused minor damage to a landmark military
recruiting station in the heart of Times Square before dawn Thursday, and police were
searching for a hooded bicyclist seen on a surveillance video pedalling away.
The video shows the bicyclist getting off a bike at 3:40 a.m. Thursday and
walking toward the building. A minute or so later, the person returned to the
bike and rode away. A brief flash and a cloud of white smoke follows.
A bike, believed used in the crime, was later found in the trash on West 38th
Street, police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
The blast left a gaping hole in the front window and shattered a glass door,
twisting and blackening its metal frame. No one was hurt, but Kelly said the
device, though unsophisticated, could have caused "injury and even death."
"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.
Witnesses staying at a Marriott hotel four blocks away said they could feel
the building shake with the blast.
"It shook the building. I thought it could have been thunder, but I looked
down and there was a massive plume of smoke so I knew it was an explosion,"
said Terry Leighton, 48, of London, who was staying on the 21st floor of the
David Hassan, who operates a breakfast cart across the street, said he was in
the area when the explosion happened.
"I saw smoke and there was a loud boom," he said. "I was scared. I'm still
The military's 1,600 recruiting stations countrywide were alerted and advised
to use extra caution, said Douglas Smith, spokesman for the army recruiting
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said no official higher state of alert had
been issued. "We do get occasional vandals at our recruiting stations,"
Whitman said. "It's unfortunate but it happens from time to time."
The office recurits for the navy, marines, air force and army. New York
recruiters will temporarily work out of their Union Square, Whitman said.
Members of the police department's bomb squad and fire officials gathered
outside the station in the early morning darkness, and police cars and yellow
tape blocked drivers - most of them behind the wheels of taxicabs - from
entering one of the world's busiest crossroads. Police began allowing some traffic
through around the start of rush hour.
Authorities were still trying to determine exactly what kind of device was
used. When investigators went through the evidence, they found a metal
ammunition box that is believed to have contained the explosive. It was being sent
for testing. Kelly said the box was readily available in army-navy surplus
"Whoever the coward was that committed this disgraceful act on our city will
be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Mayor Michael
The recruiting station, located near the theatre district on a traffic
island, is surrounded by chain stores and restaurants and several TV studios, has
occasionally been the site of antiwar demonstrations, ranging from silent
vigils to loud rallies.
In October 2005, a group of activists who call themselves the Granny Peace
Brigade rallied there against the Iraq war. Eighteen activists, most of them
grandmothers with several in their 80s and 90s, were later acquitted of
The recruiting station was renovated in 1999 to better fit into the flashy
ambiance of Times Square, using neon tubing to give the glass and steel office
a patriotic American flag motif. For a half century, the station was the
armed forces' busiest recruiting centre. It has set national records for
enlistment, averaging about 10,000 volunteers a year.
Police said it was too early to say if the blast may have been related to two
other minor explosions in the city.
In October, two small explosive devices were tossed over a fence at the
Mexican consulate, shattering three windows but causing no injuries. No threats
had been made against the consulate, and no one took responsibility for the
explosion, police said.
At the time, police said they were investigating whether it was connected to
a similar incident at the British consulate on May 5, 2005.
In that incident, the explosions took place in the early morning hours, when
Britons were going to the polls in an election that returned Prime Minister
Tony Blair to power.
In both cases, the instruments were fake grenades sometimes sold as novelty
items. They were packed with black powder and detonated with fuses, but
incapable of causing serious harm, police said.
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