Bomb Attack Targets Times Square

NEW YORK -- A small bomb caused minor damage to an empty U.S. military recruiting station in Times Square early Thursday, shaking guests in hotel rooms high above "the crossroads of the world."

The blast left a gaping hole in the front window and shattered a glass door, twisting and blackening its metal frame. No one was hurt. But New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the device, though unsophisticated, could have caused "injury and even death."

A witness saw a person on a bicycle wearing a backpack and a hood and acting suspiciously, but no one saw the device being put in place, authorities said at a news conference.

"Whoever the coward was that committed this disgraceful act on our city will be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "We will not tolerate such attacks."

At the time of the explosion, no one was in the station, said Army Captain Charlie Jaquillard, commander of Army recruiting in Manhattan.

Witnesses staying at a Marriott hotel four blocks away said they could feel the building shake with the blast.

Authorities were still trying to determine exactly what kind of device was used. Investigators found a metal ammunition box that is believed to have contained the explosive. It was being sent for testing. Kelly said the box was readily available in Army-Navy surplus stores.

Police said investigators would have to examine the evidence to determine exactly what kind of device was used.

The recruiting station, located on a traffic island surrounded by Broadway theaters and restaurants, has occasionally been the site of anti-war demonstrations, ranging from silent vigils to loud rallies. For a half century, the station was the armed forces' busiest recruiting center. It has set national records for enlistment, averaging about 10,000 volunteers a year.