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Old 05-05-2005, 06:39 AM   #1
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Blasts at UK Consulate in NYC

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Two "improvised explosive devices" made from "novelty-type grenades" have exploded in front of the building that houses the British Consulate in New York City, police and officials said.

The early Thursday morning blasts shattered windows but did not cause significant damage or any injuries, the New York Police Department said.

The devices, which contained black gunpowder and a fuse, blew out a chunk of concrete in the flower box where they were planted outside the building.

The explosions occurred as voters in Britain were casting ballots in a general election in which Prime Minister Tony Blair is seeking a historic third term for his Labour Party. (Full story)

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said police had no indication who was responsible for the blasts.

"It is true the British Consulate is in that building, but I don't think anybody should jump to conclusions," Bloomberg told reporters at the scene in midtown Manhattan.

"There's no reason to jump to the conclusion that any one floor of that building was a target at this particular time," the mayor said.

Bloomberg called the devices "unsophisticated" and said it's not yet known who planted them or why.

"So far nobody reported seeing anybody at the scene," the mayor said, adding that there had been no warning call before the blast or any call claiming responsibility.

The small bombs exploded at 3:35 a.m. EDT (0735 GMT) in one of the cement flower boxes used as a barrier outside the building, police said.

The blasts sent a 1 foot (30 cm) chunk of concrete from the planter flying into a panel of glass in the building.

One of the grenades looked like a pineapple and the other like a lemon, an investigator said, adding that similar items could be purchased at any toy store.

Police said the devices had been altered to explode by the addition of black gunpowder.

"It was one of those things you light and then run," a police spokesman told the UK's Press Association.

New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said no timing device was used and that it appeared the grenades had a single fuse and were lit by hand.

Shrapnel from the explosion was found as far as half a block away, said Kelly, who appeared at the news conference with Bloomberg.

Authorities were reviewing video from security cameras in the area, and no arrests have been made, Kelly said.

The road was closed for two blocks on either side of the building, which was surrounded by police and bomb squad experts.

Kelly said no other suspicious items were found around the building, and that sweeps of other diplomatic locations in New York also turned up nothing.

Witnesses described hearing two loud blasts just seconds apart.

Santos Figuroa was working down the street and said he heard "two loud bangs" that "sounded like thunder."

The consulate is on the 9th and 10th floors of the building at 845 Third Avenue, between 51st and 52nd streets.

Other companies based in the 15-story block include a British tourist information office, the Monaco government tourist board, several legal analysts and The Conference Board -- a private firm that compiles several U.S. economic indicators that help gauge the state of the American economy, according to PA and Reuters.

The consulate has its own security screening operation inside, PA reported.

British Consul General Sir Philip Thomas arrived on the scene later and spoke to FBI officials and detectives. He told reporters outside the consulate he had "no cause to believe" that his office was the target of the explosion.

In Chicago, two blocks of Michigan Avenue were closed briefly near the British Consulate there as a precautionary measure. The street reopened before the morning rush hour.

The Foreign Office said there were no provisions for Britons to vote at overseas consulates, The Associated Press reported.

Britain's diplomatic representation abroad has been targeted for terrorist attacks in the past. (Full story)

In November 2003, a suicide bomb attack devastated the British Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Those who died in that incident included Consul General Roger Short, the UK's top envoy in Istanbul.

The New York consulate is in a nondescript office block on the city's well-heeled Third Avenue. It assists distressed Britons and can issue emergency British passports for a one-way journey to the UK, PA said.

It handles visa applications, as well as issues for British citizens such as the legalization of documents and notices of marriage. Its press and public affairs department organizes exchange programs, seminars and conferences, according to PA.

According to the consulate's Web site, its aim is to foster "political, economic and social understanding by establishing links between British and American government officials, academics, researchers and public policy organizations."

It updates local government officials on British government policy and keeps senior officials in London in touch with political, legislative and economic trends in its district.

A trade and investment section gives free advice and assistance to American firms interested in starting or expanding a business in the UK.
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:41 AM   #2
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"novelty-type grenades"
WTF?

Excuse me, what?
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:51 AM   #3
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WTF?

Excuse me, what?
sounds like someone sooped up a couple of cherry bomb type things and decided to put a little scare into the brits on election day... didn't work.

one would imagine there are tons of video cameras in the area and they should catch whoever did it quite quickly.
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Old 05-05-2005, 06:52 AM   #4
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they were like toy grenades filled with gunpowder. i work right down the block from there...it was crazy getting home from work this morning.
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:38 AM   #5
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Nuts. Someone wanted to freak out the Brits on their election day, I guess.
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:50 AM   #6
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Then why didn't they do it in England?
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:54 AM   #7
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I don't know why they didn't do it in England. But when they blew up the consulate in Istanbul, it scared the heck out of both the Brits and the Turks.
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Old 05-05-2005, 07:56 AM   #8
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Originally posted by U2Kitten
Then why didn't they do it in England?
Probably didn't have time to catch a Transaltanitic flight, and the toy grenades filled with gunpowder might not have made it through screening at JFK (Laguardia maybe).
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Old 05-05-2005, 08:00 AM   #9
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They're so lame, they didn't even let anyone know who it was they were scaring people out of voting for
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:05 AM   #10
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Then why didn't they do it in England?
Aswell as lessons in (I refer to other threads) tactfulness, U2kitten, it appears that you also need to be educated on other matters - refering to Great Britain or the UK as 'England' is like calling the USA 'California'. The elections are British elections not English elections.

My God, some of you people are so feckin ignorant. England is one of the four countries that make up the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Today's main election (since there are actually other elections today too) is to elect the new government for the UK.

Anyway, the reason it was probably carried out in New York, instead of Britain, is it gets more international publicity than if it is carried out in say London or Edinburgh.
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Old 05-05-2005, 09:21 AM   #11
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My God, some of you people are so feckin ignorant. England is one of the four countries that make up the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Today's main election (since there are actually other elections today too) is to elect the new government for the UK.

hi there.

most of us are very well versed in international politics, we know the difference between England and the UK, as well as the difference between the Netherlands and Holland, and also that there's a huge difference between a country (as you yourself call Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) and a state like California. and it's never terribly attractive for someone to appear and, with equal parts sanctimony and assumed superiority, to label people as "ignorant" on the basis of an incorrect, but understandable, misnomer, especially in a forum like this where people often type out quick responses because they have busy lives.

having spent lots of time in the UK, and working with people from the UK, i have been very well trained to refer always to the UK, or maybe "Britain." but, if i had a dollar for every time i heard someone from the UK refer to "Indians" instead of Native Americans ...
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:19 AM   #12
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^^
what that guy said
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:38 AM   #13
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Originally posted by Irvine511



hi there.

most of us are very well versed in international politics, we know the difference between England and the UK, as well as the difference between the Netherlands and Holland, and also that there's a huge difference between a country (as you yourself call Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) and a state like California. and it's never terribly attractive for someone to appear and, with equal parts sanctimony and assumed superiority, to label people as "ignorant" on the basis of an incorrect, but understandable, misnomer, especially in a forum like this where people often type out quick responses because they have busy lives.

having spent lots of time in the UK, and working with people from the UK, i have been very well trained to refer always to the UK, or maybe "Britain." but, if i had a dollar for every time i heard someone from the UK refer to "Indians" instead of Native Americans ...
Sorry Irvine, you're quite right. It pushed my buttons and I apologise for name calling, there is a better way for me to inform or correct people than to do what I did.
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:38 AM   #14
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True enough.

Let's try to keep in mind that, coming from different backgrounds and experiences, we have unique opportunities here for enlightenment and dialogue. Nobody is going to learn anything if accusations are slung.

It's fine to point out differences and distinctions which may not otherwise be understood, but let's try to do it in a factual and respectful manner.

Thanks.
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Old 05-05-2005, 10:39 AM   #15
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Wow, he took the words right out of my mouth.
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