A suspicious package exploded near a New Jersey train station after a bomb squad robot cut a wire. Authorities are investigating a series of weekend attacks across the United States.
A suspicious package found in a wastebasket near a New Jersey train station exploded early Monday morning as a bomb squad robot disarmed it, the local mayor said.
Two men found the backpack late Sunday in the town of Elizabeth, a city south of Newark, with "wires and a pipe," Mayor Chris Bollwage said.
As a bomb squad robot dealt with the device, it "cut a wire and it exploded," Bollwage told CNN.
The bag, which had five suspicious devices in it, forced authorities to shut down or restrict transit in the area, including some Amtrak trains and New Jersey Transit services in and out of New York.
"I can imagine that if all five of them went off at the same time, that the loss of life could have been enormous if there was an event going on," Bollwage said.
The bomb scare comes after a weekend in which there were three attacks across the United States. On late Saturday a pressure cooker bomb exploded in Manhattan's Chelsea district, wounding 29 people.
An unexploded pressure cooker bomb was found in the same area hours later.
Earlier on Saturday a pipe bomb went off along the route of a running race in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Nobody was killed or wounded in that explosion.
It is unclear what relation, if any, the makeshift bombs have to each other; authorities continue to investigate. Five people were reportedly being held for questioning in New York in possible relation to the attacks.
A separate knifing rampage on Saturday at a Minnesota mall left 9 wounded before an off-duty police officer shot dead the attacker. The FBI is investigating the mall attack as a possible act of terrorism.
The reported Somali-American attacker is suspected to have ties to the self-styled "Islamic State," whose media wing claimed credit for the attack.
Authorities have not declared a motive or connection behind the weekend's attacks.
cw/msh (AFP, Reuters)