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United States

Another mysterious explosion wounds two in Austin, Texas, scene of deadly parcel bombings

Trip wire may have set off latest in a series of bombings which has put the Texas community on edge

PUBLISHED : Monday, 19 March, 2018, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Monday, 19 March, 2018, 9:06pm

Two men on bicycles were wounded by a bomb that may have been detonated by a trip wire, police said on Monday in the Texas capital, where earlier this month three parcel bombs killed two people.

The two men, thought to be in their 20s, suffered non-life-threatening injuries and were taken to the hospital on Sunday after they came upon a suspicious device on the side of a road in a residential neighbourhood on the west side of the city, Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said during a press conference.

The possibility that the roadside bomb was triggered when someone handled, kicked or came in contact with a trip wire, differs from the previous explosions that were set off when individuals handled packages that were left on doorsteps, Manley said.

“We now need the community to have an extra level of vigilance and pay attention to any suspicious device,” he said. “Given that there may have been a different triggering mechanism in this device, we wanted to get that out as early as possible.”

Residents were told to stay in their homes in the west side neighbourhood several miles from where the earlier blasts occurred, Manley said.

“We’re working on belief that they are connected,” he said, noting that authorities will wait until daylight to process the scene.

Investigators are still looking for the culprits behind the three parcel bombs that exploded in three neighbourhoods of the city, killing two black males and leaving a 75-year-old Hispanic woman fighting for her life.

Earlier on Sunday, Austin police said whoever was responsible for the bombs was trying to send a message and should contact authorities to explain any motive.

“We are not going to understand that [message] until the suspect or suspects reach out to us to talk to us about what that message was,” Manley said.

Manley said police were also investigating the bombings as possible hate crimes.

Police have received more than 735 calls about suspicious packages since the three parcel bomb attacks, but none posed a security risk, Manley said.

A reward of US$115,000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible.