Entries in Bomb (32)


Calif. Police: Transient's Jerry-Rigged Launcher Attacked Synagogue

Santa Monica Police Department(LOS ANGELES) -- The man who constructed a never-before-seen launcher that fired a projectile into the roof of a building adjacent to a Jewish outreach center in Santa Monica, Calif., is a transient known in Los Angeles for towing a trailer full of possessions behind a bicycle, police sources said.

A joint FBI, Santa Monica police and Los Angeles police manhunt remained underway early Monday for Ron Hirsch, a 60-year-old man who has regularly frequented area synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking handouts, law enforcement officials said. Hirsch was last spotted on a bus in Denver and was heading east, police sources said.

According to multiple officials familiar with the case, Hirsch created a mechanical launcher that hurled 300 pounds of pipe and concrete into roof of a building adjacent to a Chabad House and less than a block from the Santa Monica Synagogue. The incident took place shortly before prayer services at the Chabad House Thursday morning and triggered the evacuation of about 100 people from a four block radius.

The projectile appears to have been fired from an alley, bounced of the center's wall and crashed through the roof. The bang shattered windows, punctured a hole in the synagogue and sent the 300-pound metal pipe into a neighbor's house where a young boy was sleeping.

Even as the investigation and manhunt were underway, officials faced a groundswell of concern across the Jewish community, where early speculation included al Qaeda-inspired terror as a motive.

Instead, a transient with an alias and a grudge that may be seated in a personal relationship at one religious institution was the one officials believe triggered a Friday afternoon security alert by the Anti-Defamation League to synagogues and other Jewish organizations in the Los Angeles area.

Hirsch is also known as Israel Fisher, according to information released by police. He constructed the projectile device using elements including concrete, explosive powder, dry ice and what appears to be an expansion joint sealant, or other expanding plastic or foam.

The oddly constructed mechanical launcher appears to have been highly effective at hurling its material, although it did not seriously damage the Chabad House which appears to have been its target.

According to the Santa Monica Police Department, Hirsch, a heavyset white male is being sought on state charges of possession of a destructive device and unrelated local charges. He "is known to frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking charity from patrons," one police official said. He is known to stay in motels from time to time for a night at a time.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Name Suspect in California Synagogue Blast

Santa Monica Police Department(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- Police have identified a suspect in a blast outside a synagogue and community center Thursday that was originally believed to have been an industrial accident. Police now say the explosion was caused by an intentionally-placed homemade explosive.

Ron Hirsch, 60, also known as Israel Fisher, is thought to be behind the Thursday morning explosion that sent a metal pipe encased in concrete through the roof of a home next door to Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa Monica. No one was injured in the attack.

Police refer to Hirsch as a transient. He is described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 207 pounds with brown hair and green eyes.

Hirsh faces numerous charges including possession of a destructive device.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Active Bomb Sat in Detroit's McNamara Federal Building 

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(DETROIT) -- In what appears to be a major security breach, a live bomb was allowed to remain in the federal building in Detroit for three weeks before the bomb squad was called in to remove it.

The Detroit Police Department bomb squad was finally called in March 18 to remove the device in the McNamara Federal Building, which houses the FBI, IRS and offices for Sen. Carl Levin. The pipe bomb device had apparently been discovered three weeks earlier by a building guard.

"A contract guard apparently saw this package outside on Feb. 26th," according to David Wright, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 918, which represents the Federal Protective Service Employees.

"Against all security protocols -- an unattended package should be treated with extreme caution -- he picked up that package and took it inside basically on the premise of 'lost and found' property. And apparently stored it. That was on Feb. 26. On March 18th, last Friday, someone got the idea to x-ray the package. At that point wires were seen... and it turned out to be a bomb."

Following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and concerns about terrorists, federal buildings across the U.S. got increased security including metal detectors.

But a 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office sting saw congressional investigators smuggle bomb components past screeners at a federal building.

ABC News obtained video of the sting -- and it took just 27 seconds to get a device past security. The GAO investigator later assembled a bomb in the restroom, and then walked around the facility undetected. In all, the GAO was able to penetrate each of 10 of the undisclosed federal buildings it tested across the United States.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FBI Seeks Information in Spokane MLK Day Bomb

Photo Courtesy -, Wash.) – The FBI has offered a $20,000-dollar reward and asked the public for information in connection with the backpack bomb discovered along a parade route Monday in Spokane, Washington.

Sources say the Swiss Army-brand backpack contained a small pipe bomb capable of inflicting “multiple casualties.” The device was designed to propel shrapnel in the direction of the parade participants and was triggered to explode by a remote radio frequency.

“Clearly, the timing and placement of a device - secreted in a backpack - with the Martin Luther King parade is not coincidental,” said Frank Harrill with the Spokane FBI office. “We are doing everything humanly possible to identify the individuals or individual who constructed and placed this device.”

The case is actively being investigated by the FBI’s Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Can Explodes at Miami International Airport

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News(MIAMI) – A man is in custody after a can exploded in a plane on the tarmac at Miami International Airport Tuesday.

FBI officials initially thought an arousal can had exploded inside a piece of luggage aboard American Airlines flight 2585 to Boston. After all of the luggage had been removed from the plane, however, hundreds of bullet parts were found inside the bag in question.

The owner of the bag was arrested.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Police Investigate Car Parked Outside NYC Museum

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Police in New York City shut down a portion of 5th Avenue in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a brief time Monday as bomb technicians assessed the contents of a legally parked car.

Authorities on scene gave the all-clear shortly before noon after pulling a number of suitcases from the vehicle.

The car's proximity to the home of an Israeli ambassador to the United Nations may have triggered an escalated police response, a source told ABC News.

The museum was not scheduled to open Monday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Terminal Shut Down at Newark Airport over Possible Bomb

Photo Courtesy - Matthew Peyton /Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- A suspicious package that shut down Terminal A at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport Monday morning was a computer monitor emitting small amounts of radiation, the FBI reported.  Law enforcement officials told ABC News that the situation is over and the package has been cleared.

According to the FBI, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other law enforcement officials, the device was being shipped in checked baggage on the same flight with its owner, and despite initial suspicions, there was no cause for alarm.

The terminal was closed off while authorities investigated the suspected bomb that was found at an American Airlines counter.  The device in question was discovered behind the counter by a Transportation Security Administration employee.  TSA Bomb Appraisal Officers were alerted of the discovery and began their investigation.

Police halted incoming and outgoing vehicle traffic to the terminal shortly before 8 a.m. as the investigation got underway and the Essex County, New Jersey, bomb squad rushed to the scene.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Terrorist Threat Posted on Facebook Leads to Arrest

Photo Courtesy - Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A Virginia resident, who authorities say chatted on Facebook about blowing up Washington, D.C. subway cars, has been arrested and charged with making threats across state lines.

The FBI alleges that Awais Younis, who was born in Afghanistan but now lives in Arlington, Virginia, made comments online about placing pipe bombs on crowded metro subway cars and under a manhole cover in Georgetown.

Authorities say when a friend responded to the Facebook comment by saying “You wouldn’t do that.”  Younis allegedly replied, “Watch me.”   The friend then contacted the FBI.

Investigators say on his Facebook page Younis, who is in his 20s, is seen posing with an AK-47 assault rifle outside a tent in Afghanistan.  The photo's caption is, “My family business.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Bomb Comment Delays United Airlines Flight

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(DENVER) -- A United Airlines flight from Denver to Salt Lake City was held up after authorities say an angry passenger made a comment about a bomb.

It happened Saturday night when the man, who was apparently too late to board his flight, allegedly commented that he needed his baggage off the plane because there was a bomb inside.  Officials held up the plane's departure, bringing it back to the gate.  The flight was delayed nearly an hour.  No bomb was found.

The Denver Post reports the man was taken into custody and may face federal charges. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News


Terror Plot: Explosives Discovered in Packages Bound for US

Photo Courtesy - ABC News/WABC-TV New YorkYemen Says Woman Arrested For Sending Bomb Packages

(WASHINGTON) -- Security forces in Yemen arrested a female suspect Saturday, who the country's President says shipped two bombs hidden in printers to synagogues in Chicago.

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh made the announcement in Sanaa, the country's capitol, according to reports.

A spokesman at the Yemeni embassy in Washington, D.C. said he could not confirm the arrest.

President Saleh said the woman was taken into custody after Yemeni security forces surrounded a home at an undisclosed location earlier in the day.

The packages were both shipped earlier in the week, one by FedEx and the other by UPS, both destined for Chicago.

The Saudi Arabia intelligence service provided extensive information about the plot including the FedEx and UPS tracking numbers, according to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"We were able to identify them by where they were emanating from and package number, where they were located," Napolitano told ABC News.

In Chicago, the Or Chadash synagogue whose members are primarily gay and lesbian Jews said it had been notified it was one of the two targets of the terror plot. Or Chadash shares space with another synagogue, the Emanuel Congregation.

The communications director of Emanuel Congregation told ABC News that she noticed an unusually high number of hits on the temple's website from an IP address in Cairo.

Elsewhere Saturday, US officials continued to check out other packages sent to the United States from Yemen, but said they believed they had contained the immediate plot.

Suspicious packages from Yemen intercepted in Dubai and England tested positive for explosives, according to President Obama, addressing the nation Friday afternoon about what he called "a credible terrorist threat against our country."

"Last night and earlier today," said President Obama, "intelligence and law enforcement officials working with our friend and allies identified two suspicious packages bound for the United States, specifically two places of Jewish worship in Chicago."

The president said that he had "directed that we spare no effort in investigating the origins of these suspicious packages and their connection to any additional terrorist plotting."

The initial intelligence report from Saudi intelligence said there could be as many as 15 bomb packages being sent from Yemen to the U.S.

The initial report came late Thursday night and involved two separate packages shipped from Sanaa, Yemen to Chicago, according to law enforcement officials.

Officials said both packages were stopped midway on their trip to Chicago, one at the East Midlands cargo airfield outside London and the other at the airport in Dubai.

According to sources, the devices were constructed by gutting a toner cartridge and installing a complete improvised explosive inside it -- a detonator, main charge and cell phone initiator. One source gave an initial estimate that 10 to 14 ounces of homemade high explosive were contained in the devices.

Officials believe that the powder may be the explosive PETN, used in the failed plots of the so-called shoe bomber and underwear bomber.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that as a result of the discovery of the packages, "additional measures were taken regarding . . . flights at Newark Liberty and Philadelphia International Airports."

The discovery of the packages led to an international search of cargo planes carrying packages to the United States from Yemen.

Authorities in Newark and Philadelphia searched UPS and FedEx cargo jets on Friday. U.S. fighter jets also escorted Emirates Air flight 201 from Dubai into John F. Kennedy airport in New York City. According to a statement from NORAD, the plane was determined to be "an aircraft of interest."

Gibbs said President Obama was notified of a potential terrorist threat Thursday night by John Brennan, deputy national security advisor for counterterrorism, at 10:35 p.m. "The president directed U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security, to take steps to ensure the safety and security of the American people, and to determine whether these threats are a part of any additional terrorist plotting."

The president vowed to enhance screening of cargo planes in the U.S., and said he had been in touch with the president of Yemen.

Brennan issued a statement thanking Saudi Arabia "for their assistance in developing information that helped underscore the imminence of the threat emanating from Yemen." Brennan also thanked the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates for their assistance.

There had been conflicting reports about whether either of the two intercepted packages tested positive for explosives. British and U.S. officials initially reported that tests for explosives were negative, but other American law enforcement officials said at least one, possibly both, contained explosives. In a statement late Friday, British officials said only the "suspect package" was "currently being examined."

The package being examined in the UK also included a portion of a cellphone.

British Home Secretary Theresa May said that "a suspect package was discovered during a search of a cargo flight at East Midlands airport." May said the package originated in Yemen and was addressed to a destination in the U.S.

A FedEx official confirmed that a suspicious package shipped from Yemen had been "confiscated" at the FedEx facility in Dubai. Local authorities confiscated the package in cooperation with the FBI.

In a statement, the Department of Homeland Security said it was taking steps to enhance air security. "Some of these security measures will be visible while others will not," said the statement.

"The public may recognize specific enhancements including heightened cargo screening and additional security at airports. Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams and pat downs, among others. As always, we remind the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement."

A spokeswoman for the Jewish Federation of Chicago told ABC News the federation was alerted this morning and passed on the alert, advising local synagogues to take security precautions. She also said the group was not one of the targets.

The FBI's Chicago office said that the packages "in question" had been addressed to two Chicago locations, but would not provide further details. The FBI "notified the targeted institutions" by phone this morning, according to a spokesman. The White House said that the synagogue across the street from the president's home in Chicago was not one of the synagogues targeted.

The Anti-Defamation League released a statement that said it had learned from "law enforcement sources" of a reported threat to Jewish institutions in packages shipped from the U.K., Yemen and Saudi Arabia, and that it had sent notice to Jewish organizations across the U.S.

While President Obama did not say that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was behind the apparent bombing attempt, he did note in his afternoon address that al Qaeda's Yemeni offshoot continues to seek ways to attack the United States.

The radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki has repeatedly called for attacks on the U.S. from his base in Yemen.

American officials believe that AQAP has trained hundreds of terrorists whose prime objective is to attack the U.S., including the so-called underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

"Yemen is the home of between 500 and 600 al Qaeda fighters, three or four times the number of al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan," said Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism official and now an ABC News consultant. "This is really a place where al Qaeda is operating, where it's strong, where it has training camps, where we know they have trained people and sent them to the United States."

U.S. authorities have now ordered every package shipped from Yemen to the U.S. to be inspected.  

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio