Chelsea, New Jersey explosions believed to be connected; foreign connection possible: officials

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Police, firefighters and emergency workers gather at the scene of an explosion in Manhattan on Sept. 17, 2016, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — A bombing in Chelsea over the weekend that left 29 people injured may have been an act of terrorism with foreign connections, and is now believed to be linked with two other explosions that rocked New Jersey, officials said Monday.

Three explosions occurred in the past three days — in Chelsea and New Jersey’s Seaside Park and Elizabeth communities.  The blasts are likely connected, law enforcement sources said Monday.

Ahmad Khan Rahami, whose last known residence is in Elizabeth, was wanted for questioning in connection to the Chelsea and Seaside Park incidents, according to multiple agencies. The 28-year-old, considered by the FBI to be armed and dangerous, was taken into custody Monday morning in Linden, N.J., following a police-involved shooting.

A bombing during a bustling Saturday night in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood left 29 people injured. No one suffered serious injuries, and the victims were released from the hospital by the following day.

The incident may have been an act of terrorism with a foreign connection, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told the Associated Press Monday, a day after telling multiple media there was no evidence to suggest the link.

“Today’s information suggests it may be foreign related, but we’ll see where it goes,” Cuomo told the AP.

Terror attacks are increasingly global, but New York is a target and authorities and locals should always be in a state of readiness, Cuomo told reporters Monday at Penn Station, where he met with first responders.

“Be vigilant. Be on constant guard. Just assume there could be a terrorist attack anytime, anywhere,” Cuomo said.

Hours before violence broke out in Chelsea, a pipe bomb placed in a garbage can exploded near the Seaside Park Semper Fi 5K Charity Run route. No one was injured.

Although the incidents shared similarities, including the use of cellphones to detonate the explosives, law enforcement officials told CNN Sunday they could not confirm, at that time, that the explosions were linked.

Then on Monday morning, five devices were located in a suspicious package near an Elizabeth train station and one exploded when a police robot tried to disarm it, officials said.

Again no one was injured, and the FBI later deemed the area safe.

All three incidents are believed to be linked, law enforcement later said.

Officials have not said why the cases are likely connected, and Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said no cellphones or electronic timing devices were found on or near the latest scene.