A powerful explosion that went off in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and injured over two dozen people seems to have been "an intentional act," according to a statement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. But, what does "intentional act" mean, exactly, and should New Yorkers be worried? It's a question that many residents are wondering. Update: In a statement on Sunday, Sept. 18, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that "a bomb exploding in New York is obviously an act of terrorism," but added that "it’s not linked to international terrorism." "In other words, we find no ISIS connection, etc.," he said.
The blast, caused by an explosive device in or around a dumpster, occurred in a busy area on West 23rd Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues at about 8.30 p.m. on Saturday night. At least 29 people were hurt in the incident, ABC reports, with one sustaining serious injuries. Authorities later specified that the explosive device was apparently purposely planted, but that there was no immediate evidence of international terrorism.
"New York City experienced a very bad incident," Mayor de Blasio said at a news conference addressing the blast. "We have no credible and specific threat at this moment."
A possible second device was reportedly found a few blocks away on 27th Street, between Sixth Avenue and Seventh Avenue. The device — described as a pressure cooker in a white plastic bag with tape, wiring and a cell phone — was removed by police and safely detonated at the NYPD's firing range in the Bronx.
Though authorities believe the explosion was intentionally perpetrated, it remains unclear who is responsible, what the motivation was, and why that specific location was chosen. Police are asking anyone who saw or heard something related to the incident to come forward.
Per de Blasio, the Chelsea explosion is not currently thought to be connected to another blast that went off in Seaside Park, New Jersey on Saturday morning. No injuries were reported in that incident.
For anyone worried about friends or family in the New York City area, Facebook has activated its Safety Check service allowing users to notify loved ones that they are safe.