Device explodes near N.J. train station as robot tries to disarm it

9NEWS at 6 a.m. 09/19/16.

USA TODAY - A device found in a backpack near a train station in New Jersey exploded early Monday while a bomb squad robot was trying to disarm it, authorities said.

Christian Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, said that two men found a bag containing five devices in a trash can at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday. The bag had wires and a pipe protruding from it.

Bollwage said the FBI was attempting to disarm one of the devices when it exploded at around 12:30 a.m. Monday. There were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage.

“I’m extremely concerned for the residents of the community, but more importantly extremely concerned for everyone in the state and country where someone can just go and drop a backpack into a garbage can that has multiple explosives in it with no timers and then you have to wonder how many people could have been hurt,” Bollwage said.

FBI agents and police converged on an apartment near the train station at about 6 a.m. It wasn't immediately clear if the apartment had any connection to the blast.

The incident came after 29 people were injured in an explosion in Chelsea, Manhattan, on Saturday. An unexploded pressure-cooker device was also found four blocks away and was being analyzed by the FBI.

More on the NYC-area bomb scare: 

FBI: Traffic stop made in connection to NYC explosion

Authorities: NYC footage shows person moving devices before blast

Device explodes outside New Jersey train station

Experts say NYC attack was terrorism

Despite bombs, New Jersey footrace draws record number of runners

Bollwage said the FBI was bringing another robot to remove the four remaining devices found in New Jersey, WUNF News reported. "I don't believe the City of Elizabeth at this stage — was a target," he said, according to WUNF.

NJ Transit services were suspended between Newark Liberty Airport and Elizabeth, and Amtrak trains to New Jersey were being held at New York Penn Station. Amtrak trains heading to New York were held in Trenton early Monday.

Passengers said they were stuck on trains for hours Sunday night.  Amtrak said 2,400 passengers were affected.

A pipe bomb exploded in Seaside Park, New Jersey, on Saturday, about an hour from the Elizabeth train station. Officials said the two incidents did not appear to be connected, but they weren’t ruling anything out.

Investigators didn’t immediately say whether they thought the Elizabeth incident was connected to the blast in New York.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday that people will see "a very substantial NYPD presence this week — bigger than ever."

The heightened alert comes as world leaders are gathering Monday for the United Nations General Assembly. President Obama is expected to attend the annual meeting Tuesday, the last of his eight-year tenure.

Copyright 2016 USA TODAY


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