Over the weekend, the New York metro area reeled from the shock of two bomb scares — one of which exploded in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. Earlier that Saturday, Seaside Park, New Jersey was also responding to a device that exploded near a 5k run for charity. Just a day after these jolting events, residents and police were terrified to learn that an explosive device was discovered in Elizabeth, New Jersey. People who live in the area or have loved ones nearby might be wondering: is the second bomb scare in New Jersey this weekend related to the first?
No official link between this weekend's bomb events have been established, but NBC News reported that law enforcement officials said the device found in an Elizabeth garbage can resembles the pipe bomb that exploded in Seaside Park before a charity race on Saturday morning. An investigation was already underway to uncover similarities between the Seaside Park bomb and the explosion and second undetonated device found in Chelsea, Manhattan.
The explosive device found in Elizabeth was discovered in a trash can near a train station, and went off when an explosives robot was inspecting the backpack that reportedly carried up to five devices. Luckily, no one was injured because the train station had already been evacuated. The remaining undetonated devices are being examined.
As of 3:00 a.m. EST, no suspects have been identified or arrested in relation to the devices found in Elizabeth.
All New Jersey Transit activity on the Northeast Corridor line between Newark Airport and Elizabeth has been suspended, and Amtrak trains bound for New Jersey are being held in Manhattan's Penn Station, stranding passengers making early morning commutes between New York City and New Jersey.
Whether the Elizabeth devices were planted by people with ties to those who planted devices elsewhere in New Jersey and New York or not remains to be seen, but people in the area are advised to stay alert and avoid panic. And please don't jump to conclusions about the perpetrators — until and even if the involvement of groups like ISIS is confirmed, innocent Muslims and other brown people are often targeted after acts of terrorism, and keeping a level head about these sorts of attacks ensures that those who did them are brought to justice, and that others needn't be hurt in the process.