New York – At least 29 people have been injured in an explosion in New York City, officials say.
Fire trucks and ambulances converged on the scene after what witnesses described as a “deafening” blast in the Chelsea district of Manhattan around 21:00 local time
The blast rocked the area with loud bang, said one Rubel Ahmed, a Bangladeshi national, who has been there at the time of the explosion.
“I saw people around the place are bleeding on their ears,” Rubel said adding that most of them were injured because of the sound.
Bill de Blasio, mayor of the city, at a press conference said that the blast was deliberate He said, according to reports from hospital, 29 people suffer injuries.
The mayor said an investigation has been launched into the explosion.
Bill DeBlasio stated there was no immediate indication of a terror connection, and downplayed the suggestion that the explosion might be connected to an earlier incident in New Jersey. However, DeBlasio added the blast appeared to be deliberate, with authorities saying the blast was not connected to a gas explosion.
“We believe it was intentional, and a full investigation is underway,” DeBlasio told reporters. Despite bearing the hallmarks of terrorism, officials appeared to carefully calibrate their public remarks to allow for the possibility that the blast could be arson or vandalism.
FBI and Homeland Security officers are at the scene, said a local councillor.
The cause of the explosion is unclear. It comes just hours after a pipe bomb exploded in a New Jersey town.
None of the injuries appear to be life threatening, the New York Fire Department said.
Witnesses described seeing people run in all directions following the “incredibly loud” blast.
Unconfirmed reports said the blast went off in a dustbin, smashing the windows in a nearby building.
The New York Police Counterterrorism Bureau confirmed that it was investigating and shared an image on Twitter that appeared to show a damaged dustbin.
The bomb explosion in Seaside Park, New Jersey, came shortly before thousands of runners were to participate in a charity race there. No injuries were reported.
Police were currently searching for more potential explosives, and nearby streets were closed. A tweet from NYPD’s special ops indicated that a secondary device may have been found blocks from the original explosion, and officers advised people to remain away from the area.