Times Square's Lucky Escape from Another 26/11

New York, May 3 (IANS) As America heaved a collective sigh over the lucky escape from what could have been its 26/11, media recalled other breaks including the arrest of Pakistan-American David Coleman Headley linked with Mumbai terror attacks.

The plot to blow up Times Square over the weekend appears less sophisticated than others that authorities have thwarted since the terrorist attacks of Sep 11, 2001, the Wall Street Journal said noting between then and now, there have been at least 10 such attempts to bomb New York City institutions.

If the people aboard the Christmas Eve airliner had a lucky escape when an underwear bomber's explosive device failed to ignite, effective intelligence and police work have averted disaster in other instances, the report said recalling the October arrest of Headley in Chicago as he was attempting to fly to Pakistan.

"With terror, it's a small world," the Journal said noting Headley who changed his given name of Daood Sayed Gilani "has since been linked to the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai".

Meanwhile, streets in Times Square will open as normal Monday, while police say they plan to increase uniformed patrols to make New Yorkers and tourists feel safer. Some companies with offices in midtown said they would add security Monday.

Law enforcement officials are reviewing surveillance footage that showed a white man who appeared to be in his 40s walking away from the area as he looked over his shoulder and removed a layer of clothing.

The New York Times cited New York City police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly saying the bomb "would have caused casualties, a significant fireball" if it had exploded.

The materials found in the SUV Nissan Pathfinder - gasoline, propane, firecrackers and simple alarm clocks - also included eight bags of a granular substance, later determined to be nonexplosive grade of fertilizer, inside a 55-inch-tall metal gun locker.

Had it exploded "it would have been, in all likelihood, a good possibility of people being killed, windows shattered, but not resulting in a building collapse," said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman.

President Barack Obama, speaking from Venice, Louisiana, where he was monitoring a massive oil slick creeping toward the Gulf Coast, promised "to see that justice is done" in the failed car bombing.


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