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2 Grenades Explode at British Consulate in N.Y.C.

Associated Press | May 5, 2005
By JUSTIN GLANVILLE

NEW YORK (AP) - Two small makeshift grenades exploded outside a building housing the British Consulate early Thursday, Election Day in England, causing slight damage but injuring no one, officials said.

The blasts happened at 3:35 a.m.

The grenades had been placed inside a cement flower box outside the front door of the midtown Manhattan building, police spokesman Noel Waters said.

"We do not at this point have any idea who did it or a motive," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

The consulate is on the 9th and 10th floors of the building, the mayor said. He said he expected it would be open for business later in the day.

After piecing together the shrapnel, police determined the devices were toy grenades that had been filled with gunpowder. Officers estimated that one was the size of a pineapple; the other the size of a lemon.

No timing device was used, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

The blasts shattered a panel of glass in the building's front door and ripped a one-foot chunk from the planter. The department's bomb squad was at the scene and streets were closed in the area.

Offices of other foreign diplomatic representatives were checked as a precaution and nothing was found, Kelly said. Security videos in the area were being reviewed, he said.

In London, Britain's Foreign Office said there were no provisions for Britons to vote at overseas consulates. No further information was immediately available, the spokesman said. Calls to the British Embassy in Washington went unanswered early Thursday morning.

Britain's national elections have been dominated by anger with Prime Minister Tony Blair's support for the Iraq war.

The 14-story glass and metal building, on 3rd Avenue at 51st Street less than a mile from the United Nations headquarters, has retail shops on the lower level.

The closure of streets around the site caused some rush hour disruptions. Trains on one subway line skipped the stop close to the site.

 

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