NYPD seeks man involved in firecracker explosion near Times Square Gaza protest


MIDTOWN MANHATTAN — Officials are searching for a man involved in a firecracker explosion in the city’s Diamond District amid large and contentious protests between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine demonstrators.

Police said Friday they were searching for this man in connection with a firecracker explosion near Gaza protests in Manhattan (NYPD handout).

An NYPD spokesperson said the man had an explosive device while riding in the back of a pickup truck near W. 47th Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues at about 6 p.m. Thursday.

He then threw the device, police said, which burned a 55-year-old woman as it exploded. She was taken to a local hospital, treated and released.

Police said the man was last seen wearing gray pants and a red and black striped shirt.

At least 26 people were arrested in the chaotic scene in Times Square and the surrounding area during the clash between pro-Israel and pro-Palestine protesters, police said.

There was another night of protests in Manhattan amid the announcement of a cease-fire in the Middle East. 

However, the news was met with anything but peace in New York City when violent clashes erupted Thursday night.

Police struggled to contain the crowd. The groups were eventually separated by gates. Some protesters were throwing water bottles and other projectiles at each other.

Of the 26 arrests, 17 received summonses, eight are being processed and there was one juvenile write up, according to police.

It was nearby in Manhattan’s Diamond District that the bystander was burned by the firework; two police officers were also sent to the hospital.

The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force also launched an investigation into a gang assault of a Jewish man near the protests.

More: ‘Trying to make it out alive’: Victim speaks out after facing violence at Times Square protest

Israel and Hamas announced a cease-fire would go into effect at 2 a.m. Friday, ending an 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and brought life in much of Israel to a halt.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal after a late-night meeting of his Security Cabinet. Hamas quickly followed suit and said it would honor the deal.

The fighting erupted on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound, built on a site holy to Muslims and Jews, and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.

At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not break the numbers down into fighters and civilians. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, were killed.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

More: ‘Trying to make it out alive’: Victim speaks out after facing violence at Times Square protest

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