The FBI is moving in now. Terror cell suspected…
Just hours after a backpack containing five explosives was found outside the main train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey late Sunday night, FBI agents and the FBI’s Evidence Response Team is at an address in the town this morning.
NBC’s Tom Winter, who has been reporting on the development out of Elizabeth since Sunday evening, took to Twitter shortly ago with the following updates into the investigation:
On Sunday night at about 9:30 p.m. local time, two men found a package inside of a garbage at the street intersection closest to the Elizabeth train station, a primary thoroughfare for train travel between New York City and Trenton. Train service on New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor was suspended throughout the night, as a bomb robot was dispatched to deal with the package after the men dropped it, realizing it was wired. Shortly after 1 a.m. local time, one of the explosive devices inside the backpack was detonated, though it was not through a controlled detonation by authorities.
Elizabeth, New Jersey police are searching an apartment in the city for potential leads following an explosion at a transit train station, Mayor Chris Bollwage says.
The explosion in Elizabeth occurred hours after similar explosives detonated in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and Seaside Park, NJ.
News 12 NJ‘s Tony Caputo appeared live on the scene of a police probe on the corners of Elmora and Linden Avenues in Elizabeth, at walking distance from the train station, on the network Monday morning. Caputo identified the building being investigated as a First American Fried Chicken restaurant with apartments on its second floor, and noted the television station stumbled upon the investigation on the way to the train station.
Mayor Bollwage later confirmed to Caputo that the Elizabeth investigation is linked to the other bombings in Seaside Park and Manhattan, though there is no evidence to link the bombings concretely yet. Bollwage noted that the five explosives found in Elizabeth “did not have any electronic device or timer – that is the only difference between the construction” of the Elizabeth and Manhattan devices.
NBC affiliate WOWT reported Monday morning that the police probe began “just before 6AM ET,” and that both New York and New Jersey officials are investigating the possibility that the perpetrators are part of a larger terror cell.
WOWT notes that New York police have found what is being described as a “vehicle of interest” near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Sunday. By Monday morning, police had named and identified a suspect in the Chelsea bombings: Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old naturalized American citizen from Afghanistan residing in Elizabeth, NJ. Police have not confirmed if the apartment being searched in that city is Rahami’s.
“The FBI is executing a search warrant. They will be there for the next few hours, going through this location to find any evidence possible, whether it’s in relation to this incident or the Chelsea incident,” Reuters quotes the mayor as stating on CNN following the explosions at the train station.
Police identified multiple explosive devices near the Elizabeth train station early Monday morning. One of the devices exploded as a police robot attempted to disarm it; the explosions did not injure anyone in the area. There is no publicly available evidence linking this explosion to a similar incident in Chelsea, as the police noted, though the FBI and local police are cooperating to find any potential links.
This story is developing and we will update as more information becomes available.