Just before noon on Saturday, what authorities called a rudimentary pipe bomb went off in a garbage can on the New Jersey shore, which led to the discovery of two more devices wired together. Only one exploded, according to authorities. Nobody was injured.
Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor’s office, said he believes the blast was meant to affect the Seaside Semper Five race.
“If it was just a matter of minutes, in terms of difference, there would have been a good number of people running past that explosive device” because of its location along the race route, Della Fave said.
Registration problems at the starting line delayed the start of the race, which meant no one was near the garbage can when the explosion happened, a law enforcement official said.
“We were lucky,” the official said.
Another blast, this one much larger, injured at least 25 people in the Chelsea section of Manhattan in New York City, at about 8:40 p.m.
Huge explosion in Chelsea blew this dumpster … pic.twitter.com/1lSIGjRyC8
— Chris Duffy (@voicehalf) September 18, 2016
Fox News reported, “The blast was heard on West 23rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues in the city’s Chelsea neighborhood.”
Authorities have not yet determined whether this explosion was caused by a device specifically planted there, or if it was any kind of bomb. But any explanations not involving a man-made explosive seem to be unlikely.
Witnesses told Fox News that the blast was “very forceful,” extremely loud and causing a large cloud of smoke.
— N∑H∆ (@nnehajainn) September 18, 2016
Two explosions. One is known to be a pipe bomb that seemed to be intended to injure American runners in a race dedicated to the Marine Corps. The other is still an enigma.
On Friday, the Pentagon announced that an airstrike had killed a senior ISIS leader–the group’s minister of information. ABC News reported:
“On September 7, coalition forces conducted a precision strike near Raqqah, Syria, that targeted and killed ‘Dr. Wa’il,’ also known as Wa’il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, one of ISIL’s most senior leaders,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement today.
Without speculating, and of course no claim of responsibility as of this writing, there’s plenty of raw motive here, and a specific event to which ISIS might be responding, if this is inspired by the terror group.
Overall, the two events seem unprofessional and somewhat uncoordinated. But the probability that they are sheer coincidence is alarmingly low.