Handwritten Arabic Note Found in Explosive Device Adds New Twist to Possible Terror Plot
The discovery of a second explosive device just blocks away from the site of dumpster bomb in New York has yielded evidence that may help authorities track down the perpetrator of the terror attacks, including a hand-written letter.
The first explosion rocked the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan at around 8:30 pm, blowing out windows and sending 29 to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Then, three hours later, a local resident called 911 after she spotted a suspicious object on the sidewalk next to a mailbox.
Photographer Jane Schreibman, 66, left her home to see what was going on after the explosion, and told reporters, “I walked 10 or 15 feet on the block and I saw a strange contraption… My first thought was it was a kids' science experiment that they were throwing out.”
Schreibman said the lid of the pot was duct taped “had wires coming out of it,” which were connected to a white bag.
“I wasn’t sure if it was a pressure cooker, but I know they make bombs out of pressure cookers and that made me suspicious.”
Police dispatch told Schreibman to “run” after informing her that another caller had already alerted them to the device.
Two Muslim brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, used pressure cooker bombs in the terror attack at the Boston Marathon in April 2013 that killed three and injured 264, and the “recipe” for making the deadly devices is readily available in radical publications, including, Inspire, the glossy magazine published by Al-Qaeda.
NYPD’s bomb squad deployed a robot to retrieve the pressure cooker for investigation and detonation off-site, and discovered the hand-written letter – at least part of which was written in Arabic.
Investigators have not disclosed the contents of the letter, but an unidentified sources said they were “vetting” a social media posting by someone identifying himself as “the NY Bomber,” claiming responsibility for the bombing because of “anti-gay” prejudice.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio refused to use the word “terrorism” when talking about the bombing at a press conference, saying only that it was “intentional,” but Gov. Andrew Cuomo went on the record immediately.
“A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism,” Cuomo told reporters, adding – perhaps prematurely – that “there is no evidence of an international terrorism connection.”
The blast in the Chelsea neighborhood occurred on the same day runners at a Marine charity 5k race escaped injury when the event was delayed and a timed explosion detonated on time.
Later in the day, a Somali Muslim disguised as a security guard went on a rampage in a shopping mall, shouting “Allah” as he attacked shoppers with a machete.
Evidence will be taken to FBI facilities in Quantico, Virginia for investigation.