Incident at the US-Canadian border
Car explosion probably not a terrorist attack after all
November 22, 2023, 8:53 p.m
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The so-called Rainbow Bridge near Niagara Falls connects the USA and Canada. Now there is a car explosion there. Contrary to what was initially reported, investigators are not assuming an attempted terrorist attack.
According to media reports, the explosion of a vehicle at the US-Canada border killed two people and triggered a large-scale police operation. After Fox News initially reported, citing unnamed insiders, that the US Federal Police FBI classified the incident at Rainbow Bridge as an attempted “terrorist attack”, this was later followed by a denial from the governor of the US state of New York. At this point in time there is no evidence of a terrorist attack, said Kathy Hochul at a press conference. But it will take a while until we find out what happened.
In an initial reaction, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke of a “very serious situation”. The White House said US President Joe Biden had been informed of the incident. He and his team followed developments closely.
According to media reports, the car exploded on the US side at midday (local time). CNN and Fox News reported that the vehicle should be examined more thoroughly after an initial inspection. The car is said to have accelerated, crashed into a barrier and exploded. A border official was injured. Photos show rubble and a heavy police presence at the border crossing.
“Heard something popping”
An eyewitness told the Niagara Gazette newspaper that he and a friend saw a car driving from a parking lot toward the bridge on the U.S. side of the border. “We heard something bang,” the eyewitness reported. “We saw fire and a lot of black smoke.”
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul said on X that the state police were working with the FBI’s terrorism task force to control access to New York. She herself will travel to the nearby city of Buffalo. The head of the government of the province of Ontario, Doug Ford, said that the investigative authorities were also involved on the Canadian side.
In addition to the Rainbow Bridge, three other border crossings with Canada in western New York were initially closed. Security precautions have been increased at other border crossings and at some airports, the authorities said. Some official buildings in cities near the incident closed earlier than usual. The Thanksgiving holiday in the USA is on Thursday, when family and friends traditionally meet. The day before has some of the busiest traffic of the entire year.