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    Sep 19, 2016

    NYC blast, Minnesota attack injure 37


    A POWERFUL explosion injured at least 29 people on a crowded sidewalk in New York's Manhattan district, which was soon followed by a knife attack that hurt eight people in Minnesota, some 1,800km away.

    Around 11 hours before both incidents, a pipe bomb placed in a garbage can exploded in a small town in New Jersey, close to where a 5km charity run was about to begin. No one was hurt.

    The race, which was meant to raise money for members of the United States Marine Corps and their families, was cancelled following the blast.

    It is not known whether the three incidents on Saturday were terrorist attacks or if they are linked.

    Nevertheless, New York mayor Bill de Blasio called the explosion in Manhattan - which occurred at about 8.30pm on West 23rd Street in the bustling Chelsea neighbourhood - "an intentional act".

    "Whatever the cause, New Yorkers will not be intimidated," the New York Times quoted him as saying.

    A few hours after the blast, authorities found and removed what they described as a second explosive device four blocks away, raising suspicion that the bombs were deliberately planted.

    Authorities described the second device as a pressure cooker resembling the one used in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.

    According to Mr de Blasio, the "injuries are significant" but not " life-threatening".

    The impact shattered windows, damaged cars and sent crowds running from the scene.

    Meanwhile, the attacks in St Cloud, a city in Minnesota, were perpetrated by a man making "some references to Allah", reported Agence France-Presse.

    The unidentified man stabbed and injured eight people in Crossroads Mall on Saturday night, before being shot dead by an off-duty officer, police said.

    The suspect "asked at least one person if they were Muslim before he assaulted them", said Blair Anderson, police chief of St Cloud.

    But he emphasised that the assailant's motivation remained unclear.

    The lone suspect was wearing a private security uniform and had at least one knife, he added.

    The eight people injured were taken to a hospital, where one is expected to remain.

    The suspect had a history of minor traffic violations, according to Mr Anderson.