September 18, 2016 Law enforcement officials in New York City are investigating Saturday night’s blast in a crowded area in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood that injured 29 people.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters early indications are that the explosion at 23rd Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan at about 8.30 p.m. Saturday “was an intentional act.” Despite the discovery of a pressure cooker bomb near the site of the explosion, the mayor emphasized that currently there is no known specific or credible terrorist threat.
New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo told reporters Sunday that a bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” but said there is no evidence of an international terrorism link to the bomb.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is on the scene of the explosion Sunday collecting evidence. FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney Jr. said:
“The evidence we’ve collected is being taken to our lab at Quantico for review, and we are following every available lead.”
The Boston Marathon bombers used pressure cooker bombs in the April 2013 terrorist attack. Convicted Boston bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told authorities he and his brother found the recipe for the pressure cooker bombs in an online al-Qaeda propaganda magazine. The magazine, “Inspire” published an article titled “Make a Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom” urging would be Jihadists to construct bombs out of whatever they could get their hands on–including pressure cookers.
Last week, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FBI joint bulletin distributed to state and law enforcement agencies across the nation warns that terrorists or terrorist-inspired individuals may target sports venues.
The DHS/FBI bulletin, dated August 31, was discovered just days before the fifteen year anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The bulletin warned that homegrown terrorists, inspired by ISIS or other terrorist organizations have shifted their focus away from government and military targets to “soft targets,” places where large crowds gather such as stadiums, arenas, concert venues and music festivals. British officials issued a similar warning early in August.
A National Terrorism Advisory System bulletin issued on June 15, 2016, noted the uptick in terrorist-inspired and homegrown attacks on public events and public places like the recent attacks in San Bernardino, Paris, Brussels, and the nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
There have been several recent acts of violence against memebers of the Muslim American comminuty. On Monday, the mosque where the Orlando nightclub shooter, Omar Mateen prayed was set on fire. Also, a 35-year-old Muslim woman’s hijab was set on fire last Saturday while she was standing outside a store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. The woman was startled but not injured according to the NYPD. The hijab is a veil traditionally worn by Muslim women in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family, which usually covers the head and chest.
Cynthia Hodges holds a M.A. in Political Science from NEIU in Chicago, Illinois and a Post-Grad Professional Certificate in Disaster and Terrorism Management from University of North Carolina -Chapel Hill. In addition to a successful writing career, Cynthia is in the process of writing a book on the role of private security guards as first responders in the post 9/11 America. "My career has been a balance of security and education, and my passion for Homeland Security while protecting individual's Constitutional rights has grown as a result of the two."