Subway Explosion Rattles Commuters in New York City

Subway Explosion Rattles Commuters in New York City


At least one person was arrested in connection with an explosion Monday blocks from Times Square in New York City, the city’s police department said. Some subway services were affected, the department said.

There were no official details of the cause of the explosion, which occurred just before 8 a.m. at 42nd Street and 8th Avenue near the Port Authority terminal, but news reports, citing unnamed police department sources, suggested the blast was caused by a homemade device that either malfunctioned or did not go off as planned. Preliminary reports said one person was injured. If that is confirmed, the incident would be the latest terrorist attack on New York since October 31 when Sayfullo Saifov, a Kazakh immigrant, struck pedestrians and cyclists in Lower Manhattan with his truck, killing eight people and injuring 15 others. That attack was claimed by ISIS.

There have been several attempts to attack New York City since September 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda terrorists used passenger aircraft to strike the twin towers of the World Trade Center, killing nearly 3,000 people. The city’s police department has successfully foiled several high-profile attempts to attack New York. In 2010, for example, a car bomb was discovered and disarmed near Times Square—and the man behind it, Faisal Shahzad, arrested and ultimately convicted.

Attempts to target the United States and other countries have continued despite counterterrorism success against, first, al-Qaeda, and, now, ISIS. The former  group is now mostly restricted to Afghanistan after suffering severe battlefield losses in its other areas of operation. ISIS, which just a few years ago marched through and seized large parts of Syria and Iraq, is now mostly defeated—and looking for other places to operate.

ISIS might have lost its ability to hold onto territory it once controlled, but it has not lost its seeming ability to inspire others to carry out terrorist attacks around the world through its online propaganda and other means. Attacks in the past year alone have targeted Egypt, the U.K., New York, and other places. Vehicular attacks have become popular, given how easy they are to carry out. And as Monday’s blast shows, one person, working in the shadows, with the will to cause harm is hard to stop—except through luck.


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