NEW YORK - (AP) - Police investigating a terror attack that couldhave set off a deadly fireball in Times Square focused Sunday on finding a man who was videotaped shedding his shirt near the SUV where the bomb was found.
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Police said the gasoline-and-propane bomb was crude but couldhave sprayed shrapnel and metal parts with enough force to killpedestrians and knock out windows on one of America's busieststreets, full of Broadway theaters and restaurants on a Saturdaynight.
The surveillance video shows an unidentified white man in his 40s slipping down an alley and taking off a shirt, revealing another underneath. In the same clip, he's seen looking back in the direction of the smoking vehicle and furtively putting the first shirt in a bag, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Police had already identified the registered owner of the 1993 Nissan Pathfinder - which didn't have an easily visible vehicle identification number and had license plates from another car - and were looking to interview him. Police also were searching morevideo, believed to be in the possession of a Pennsylvania tourist, of the man in the alley.
The bomb at Times Square, one of the flashiest and best-knownplaces on Earth, was found at the height of dinner hour beforetheatergoers headed to Saturday night shows.
New York's busiest streets, choked with taxis and people on one of the first summer-like days of the year, were shut down for 10 hours, unnerving thousands of tourists attending Broadway show, museums and other city sights. Detectives took the stage at the endof some of shows to announce to theatergoers that they were looking for witnesses in a bombing attempt.
A Pakistani Taliban group claimed responsibility for the failedattack in a 1-minute video. Kelly, however, said police have noevidence to support the claims, and noted that the same group hadfalsely taken credit for previous attacks on U.S. soil. Thecommissioner also cast doubt on an e-mail to a news outlet claimingresponsibility.
The militant group said the attack was revenge for the death ofits leader, Baitullah Mehsud, and the recent slaying of al-Qaida inIraq leaders Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who werekilled by U.S. and Iraqi troops last month north of Baghdad. Thevideo also mentioned Aafia Siddiqui, a 37-year-old Pakistaniscientist who was convicted in a U.S. court in New York in Februaryof trying to kill American service personnel after her arrest inAfghanistan in 2008.
Police released a photograph of the SUV, a dark-colored NissanPathfinder, as it crossed an intersection at 6:28 p.m. Saturday. Avendor pointed the SUV out to an officer about two minutes later.