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Governor deploys 1,000 state police and national guard to NYC airports, train stations

The governor said the bombing was definitely "terrorism," even if there is no evidence connecting it to international terror networks
Le gouverneur de New York, Andrew Cuomo, à droite. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

UPDATED Sunday Sept. 18 1:30 pm with NYPD press conference, additional details:

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo deployed an additional 1,000 New York state police and National Guard troops to transit hubs in New York City, the day after one explosion rocked the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan Saturday night and another bomb-like device found unexploded nearby.

The governor, speaking after a tour of the blast site, urged New Yorkers to proceed with their lives, including commuting normally to work on Monday morning. "Life goes on in New York," he said at a press conference, "just as it did before the bomb exploded."


The additional police and reserve troops will be deployed to area airports, bus terminals and train stations, an additional show of force to supplement a heightened New York Police Department presence around the city ahead of the UN General Assembly in Manhattan this week.

"We are going to enjoy New York and go back to work tomorrow just like we do every morning," he said.

The governor also disputed Mayor Bill de Blasio's characterization of the event. While de Blasio said Saturday night that while the blast was "intentional," there was no evidence of terrorism, the governor said the blast was certainly "terrorism," even if not connected to international networks. "A bomb going off generically is a terrorist activity," he said. "That is how we will prosecute it."

The troop deployment comes the day after a powerful blast from what appears to be a bomb in a Dumpster shattered windows, threw passersby into the air and sent shrapnel flying on a crowded stretch of 23rd Street in Manhattan. The blast caused 29 injuries — one serious — but no fatalities. All 29, who were hospitalized, have since been released. A second suspected unexploded bomb, a pressure cooker with wires and a cell phone, was found blocks away.

It was the first scare in the city since 2010, when the NYPD thwarted an attempted car bombing near Times' Square.

Cuomo said both the original and secondary devices were "similar in design" but wants to wait for the outcome of the FBI's investigation to determine whether they are related. Cuomo also said that for now, there appears to be no evidence linking the explosion earlier in the day at the Jersey Shore in New Jersey and the later incident in Chelsea. "The devices were different," Cuomo said. "They were pipe bombs in New Jersey, different bombs were used here."


Both the New Jersey pipe bombs and the initial bomb are being transported to Quantico, the FBI's training base in Virginia. NYPD police commissioner James O'Neill, on his first day on the job, said at a later news conference that the second unexploded device had been taken to Rodman's Neck, a 54-acre police training facility in the Bronx, to be "worked on" by the city's bomb squad.

The governor appeared to walk back Mayor de Blasio's assertion that the bombing did not appear to be linked to terror. De Blasio's words were viewed as controversial, and kicked off a discussion on Twitter. Nihad Awad, executive national director for the Center for American Islamic Relations, argued that the mayor was relying on a narrow definition of terrorism as an act committed by an Islamic religious fanatic.

What does it mean 'it's an intentional act-- but not terrorism'? What's the criteria?— Nihad Awad ???? ??? (@NihadAwad)September 18, 2016

"I believe the mayor was saying there was no connection with international terrorism," Cuomo said, while disputing definitions. "A bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism."

Cuomo said it was fortunate that more people weren't hurt or killed, given the damage to the site and extent of debris. "When you see the damage… we were fortunate there were no fatalities," he said. All buildings surrounding the blast site are reportedly structurally sound.


The mayor and NYPD commissioner James O'Neill, in his first full day on the job, will give another update at noon.

"We are not going to let them instill fear," Cuomo said. "Then they would win."

UPDATE 1:30 pm:

Speaking at NYPD headquarters, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio did not back down from his earlier reluctance to characterize the incident as an act of terror – rather, he repeatedly stressed that investigators simply don't have enough information to make that kind of assertion.

"It was intentional. It was a violent act. It was a criminal act. It was a bombing," the mayor said. He added that there was no evidence of any "specific political motivation or connection to an organization." "It could have been personally motivated," he said. "We don't know."

O'Neill said that evidence collection was likely to continue on site for at least another four to five hours. "We're in the middle of a very complex post-blast investigation," O'Neill said, involving the NYPD, FBI, state police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

NYPD chief of department added at the same conference that commuters can expect to see a beefed up police presence at "random stations throughout the city", and more officers carrying out "enhanced bag checks."