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Developing: Attempted Car Bombing in Times Square

Posted on May 2 2010 2:15 am
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NYPD investigates car bomb at 45th and Broadway in NYC.

The NY Daily News reports:

Heroic cops stopped a car bomb from blowing up in the heart of Times Square Saturday night, officials told the Daily News.

Two female cops patrolling the area noticed a man fumbling with something in the back of a Nissan SUV parked on the southwest corner of 45th St. and Broadway about 7 p.m. The man saw the officers looking and took off running.

The two cops went to the car and saw smoke, clusters of canisters and heard something fizzing, a source said. The quick-acting cops called for backup, and the bomb squad was on the way as the Crossroads of the World was evacuated.

“It looks as if the perp was trying to light it up, and was interrupted by the cops, panicked and took off,” a law enforcement source said.

“It looked like someone tried to detonate it and we got to it in time,” another source said. “This is a big deal. It has the makings of a real car bomb.”

The bomb squad used a robot to get inside the car and found gasoline, gun powder, propane tanks, electrical wiring and a possible detonating device with a clock attached, sources said.

AllahPundit reminds us that propane was a component in the fuel-air bombs jihadis planned to detonate in London three years ago.

The SUV was reportedly parked just outside the Viacom building.  Viacom owns Comedy Central, leading many on Twitter to speculate about a connection to the recent “South Park”/Mohammed controversy.

Patterico notes that federal officials were quick to downplay the possibility of terrorism. Uh huh. ‘Cause there’s no way a car bomb in Times Square could be terrorism, right?

It is almost 2 a.m. ET and the story continues to develop.  We are awaiting a presser with NYPD officials and possibly NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Update, 2:30 a.m. ET:

Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly appeared at the press conference in New York City. Mayor Bloomberg said the city “avoided what could have been a very deadly event.”

A t-shirt vendor/Vietnam vet was the first to report the suspicious green Nissan Pathfinder to an NYPD officer. No witnesses have come forward regarding the driver of the vehicle.  Camera footage is being reviewed.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the car contained three  propane tanks, two gasoline containers, consumer-grade fireworks, and a gun locker-style metal box.  According to Bloomberg, the bomb “looked amateurish.”  (That might hurt the bomber’s feelings, but it doesn’t lessen the destructive power of the device.)

“We have no idea who did this or why,” Bloomberg told reporters.  “There’s no evidence that it’s tied to army recruiting or Viacom … anything is possible, we just don’t know.”

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