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New York train station may have been bomb target

Police blocked off nearby streets and stopped local subway service

5 bombs found, 3 men arrested in Brooklyn

July 31, 1997
Web posted at: 5:10 p.m. EDT (2110 GMT)

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Police found at least five "bomb devices" in an early morning raid on a Brooklyn apartment Thursday, and arrested three men. Authorities are investigating the possibility that the case is related to Wednesday's two suicide bombings in Jerusalem that killed 15 people.

Two of those arrested in Brooklyn were wounded in a shootout with police. The raid resulted from a tip late Wednesday from a man who said his "roommates want to follow up on Jerusalem," an apparent reference to the Jerusalem attack.

A senior law enforcement source told CNN that two of the men had Jordanian passports. They were identified as Jhazi Abu Mezer, 23, and Lafi Khalil, 22. The third man was carrying no identification papers, the source said.

Police sources said the target of the bombers may have been a Long Island Railroad commuter train station located 10 blocks from the apartment.

That station is linked by tunnel to a New York subway station, where Abu Mezer and Khalil were cited Wednesday for jumping the turnstiles.

Another senior law enforcement official told CNN's Charles Feldman that there may be another explosive device still missing, and police were searching for it.

No link made to Jerusalem attack

New York Mayor Giuliani comments on the explosives found in a New York apartment
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
icon 224 K/18 sec. AIFF or WAV sound

New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said at a news conference that no definite link had been made between the men arrested and the Jerusalem attack.

A two-block area in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood was roped off, and about 100 residents were awakened and evacuated as a precaution.

Agents from the New York bomb squad, the FBI Joint Terrorist Task Force and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms tried to determine what kind of explosive devices had been found. The incident temporarily interrupted subway service in the area, forcing thousands of people to take buses.


Suspects shot during confrontation

Police went to the apartment -- a small two-story structure behind a storefront car repair business in a rundown section of Park Slope -- about 4:40 a.m. Thursday and found the three men asleep, Giuliani said.

"A confrontation then started, police shot two of the individuals," he said. Police recovered two "bomb devices, possibly activated, possibly not," the mayor added.

Police said the two wounded men had injuries that were not life-threatening.

As part of the probe, police executed at least two other search warrants during the day, but no other arrests were made.

Asked whether New York residents should be concerned, Giuliani responded, "People should feel confident that everything humanly possible is being done. ... they should not be nervous or upset."

Correspondent Peg Tyre and Reuters contributed to this report.

 
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