Police and federal agents are pouring over surveillance footage to identify a suspect in the attempted car bombing in Times Square.
Officials say the footage shows a possible suspect, a white man in his forties walking away from the area where the vehicle was parked, looking over his shoulder and removing a layer of clothing.
Thousands of tourists were cleared from the streets surrounding New York’s Times Square after police discovered an “amateurish” but potentially powerful car bomb.
Two local vendors alerted police to smoke coming from a Nissan Pathfinder on 45th Street. Police cleared the area while three propane tanks, fireworks, two filled 5-gallon (19-litre) gasoline containers, and two clocks with batteries, electrical wire and other components were removed from the car.
Apparently the bomb started to detonate, but there was some sort of problem and it stopped.
“We avoided what we could have been a very deadly event,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “It certainly could have exploded and had a pretty big fire and a decent amount of explosive impact.”
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the government is treating this incident as a potential terrorist attack, and that they have recovered fingerprints from the scene.
A t-shirt and handbag vendor alerted police to the vehicle around 6:30 p.m. Saturday, when smoke started coming out of it. It was parked on a prime block fro Broadway shows. They didn’t think it had been parked there for more than ten or fifteen minutes.
Officials say there are a number of surveillance cameras in the area, but it’s too soon to tell who is responsible.
There were reports saying the Pakistani Taliban had claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing, but New York’s police commissioner was quick to dismiss that.