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NewsNew York

Times Square car bomb attempt: timeline and details

NEW YORK - MAY 02: Police stand by

NEW YORK - MAY 02: Police stand by at sunrise at the scene where a crude car bomb had been parked at 45th Street and 7th Avenue in Times Square May 2, 2010 in New York, New York. Police found a crude but potentially powerful bomb in vehicle in Times Square and disabled it, clearing out the famous intersection of thousands of tourists on a busy Saturday night. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) Credit: Getty/Chris Hondros


6:28 p.m. - Security cameras capture footage of the Nissan Pathfinder entering West 45th Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue.

6:30 p.m. - A T-shirt vendor notifies a mounted police officer that the Nissan is filling with smoke.

6:34 p.m. - The mounted police officer calls for resources to deal with the smoke-filled vehicle.

What police say was in the Nissan.

In the rear cargo area:

  • A gun locker, 55 inches tall, 32 inches wide, containing eight bags of an unidentified fertilizer-like substance packed tightly into plastic grocery bags.
  • A metal cooking pot filled with "a bird's nest of wires" and M-88 firecrackers.
  • Three propane tanks full of between 15 and 17 pounds of propane. One of the tanks had M-88 firecrackers attached to its side.
  • On the backseat:

    • Two red plastic 5-gallon tanks full of gasoline.
    • A 16-ounce can filled with 20 to 30 M-88 firecrackers.
    • Two small yellow plastic analog alarm clocks that were connected by wires to each other and to the can full of firecrackers. The alarm clocks may also have been connected to the gun locker, though that remains unclear.
    • Source: New York City Police Department

      Key questions about the Times Square bombing attempt

      Who is responsible? Officials said Sunday that they don't know. Possible suspects range from a "lone wolf" who isn't tied to any terror group to the Taliban or al-Qaida.

      Have investigators ruled out any person or terrorist group? No.

      Has any group claimed responsibility? Yes, news reports said the Taliban claimed responsibility. The NYPD said an individual e-mailed a news organization and also claimed responsibility. The caller wasn't related to any known terrorist organization, police said.

      Do police have any relevant video? Police said they have video of a man seen entering Shubert Alley, taking off a shirt which he wore over a different one and walking away. They are interested in talking with him. A tourist from Pennsylvania also said he has video of a man leaving the area near the car. Surveillance video also captured the car as it entered the area. Cops will be reviewing more video images caught on security cameras.

      Has anyone been arrested? Not as of late Sunday.

      Do police know who owned the van that was packed with the explosive device? Investigators know the Pathfinder's vehicle identification number and determined it had a license plate registered to another vehicle at a repair shop in Connecticut.

      Two recent attempted car bombings in which gas was used:

      June 29, 2007. London police found two Mercedes sedans packed with gasoline, fuel cans and nails in the city's nightclub district after authorities responded to a report that one of the vehicles was emitting suspicious odors. The bombs were disabled before they were triggered.

      June 30. Two men drive a Jeep containing gas and propane tanks into security barriers outside Glasgow Airport, igniting a fire that killed one of the men. The other man, Bilal Abdullah, a British doctor, was implicated in both the attack in Glasgow and the failed plot in London; he was convicted and sentenced to 32 years in prison for conspiracy to commit murder.

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