FedEx package explosion likely linked to Austin blasts, feds say

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21 March, 2018

And instead of a package on a doorstep, the device was triggered by a thin, nearly invisible roadside tripwire, adding a random element and a different bomb-making technique that police said indicates a high level of sophistication. Police are now investigating a second explosive device that was found in the FedEx system.

FBI agents investigate the scene at a FedEx distribution center where a package exploded, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, in Schertz, Texas.

FedEx has confirmed in a statement that a package detonated at a San Antonio-area FedEx ground facility early Tuesday morning.

"The use of a tripwire is far less discriminating than leaving parcel bombs at residences and suggests that (Sunday's) victims were not specifically targeted", the global think tank Stratfor said in one of its Threat Lens reports.

Police issued revised safety guidelines to Austinites today, urging them to "remain vigilant" and to stay away from suspicious packages they may see in their neighborhoods.

More than 350 special agents assigned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as ATF agents and forensic investigators in Quantico, Virginia, are on the case. "We can't know for sure until we have an opportunity to look at the evidence itself". A local news outlet reports all employees were evacuated.

In this image taken from video, police respond to the scene of an explosion at a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas, on Tuesday.

"The entire national apparatus of the FBI is focused on this, as well as internationally", FBI Special Agent In Charge Christopher Combs said Monday. However, they did not provide any other additional information on who exactly the package was meant for.

"If this is connected, we're seeing a major shift where the person may be beginning to rely on professional carriers to distribute these explosive devices", Plohetski said. A worker nearby the blast was treated for reported ringing in her ears.

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Although the latest blast did not inflict serious harm, it added to the widening fear of more explosions like four previous ones that have already killed two people and badly wounded four others.

One person was lightly injured but did not require treatment, police said. Both men are expected to recover.

Authorities suspect the parcel bomb is linked to the four bombs that have killed two people and injured four others in Austin this month. Austin police officers claimed that this was the most advanced bomb to date.

"We are clearly dealing with what we believe to be a serial bomber at this point", Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said, citing similarities among the four bombs.

According to local and state officials, hundreds of law enforcement officials, more than 350 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, troopers from Texas Department of Public Safety and bomb technicians from Houston and San Antonio were working on the case. The Schertz explosion makes the fifth explosion in area since March 2.

Since early March, the five bombings have killed a total of two people and injured another five.

A little after midnight on Tuesday, there was another blast in Texas, a state which has been recently rattled by package bombs.

"We've said from the beginning that we're not willing to rule anything out, just because when you rule something out, you limit your focus". "Also, we need to understand if these attacks are ideologically or racially motivated".


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