Sunday, May 02, 2010

Times Square Bomb Attempt

Of course, this wasn't jihad and had nothing to do with Islam even if the Taliban did claim responsibility. Let's all be like Obama's DHS chief Janet Napolitano and just call it a man made disaster - almost:

"It appeared that [the bomb] was in the process of detonating and malfunctioned," said police spokesman Paul Browne.

A street vendor alerted a policeman on mounted patrol—Wayne Rhatigan, 47 years old, a 19-year-veteran of the force. In an interview, Mr. Rhatigan said he smelled gunpowder coming from the vehicle and went toward it, thinking it could explode at any second. He grabbed two other officers to help move people away from the smoking Pathfinder as he called for backup at 6:34 p.m.

Police blocked the area from West 43rd to 47th streets along Broadway and Seventh Avenue with metal railings. Parts of West 48th Street were also closed. Most of the streets were reopened Sunday morning after police removed the Pathfinder.

Police later said the Pathfinder was spotted on security video at 6:28 p.m. The video wasn't clear enough to identify the driver and no videos have been found showing the suspect in the attack, police said.

An interesting detail, revealed in the NY Times story was the use of propane:

Police officials said a witness reported a running Nissan Pathfinder with Connecticut plates, with smoke coming out of the back. A bomb squad robot popped the back latch of the Pathfinder, and officers found what they initially believed was a bomb. The vehicle was found to contain explosives, gasoline, propane and burned wires, a Fire Department officer told Reuters.

If that rings a bell, it should. This was a crude attempt to create a fuel air bomb. It's similar to the method used for car bombs in Iraq and was also the method used in the failed attempt to set off a series of car bombs in London three years ago. Had it exploded in the crowded Times Square area, it would likely have touched off a series of other vehicle explosions and killed hundreds of people.

As an interesting side note, the Pathfinder was parked near the junction of 45th Street and Broadway. That's adjacent to the Viacom building, which just censored South Park's depiction of Mohammed in an attempt to avoid this kind of attack.

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