FBI investigating fifth package bomb explosion in Texas

Homemade bomb explodes at FedEx facility after earlier devices caused deaths in Austin

 Police tape marks off the neighbourhood where a package bomb went off on Monday in Austin, Texas. Photograph: Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

Police tape marks off the neighbourhood where a package bomb went off on Monday in Austin, Texas. Photograph: Drew Anthony Smith/Getty Images

 

A package bomb blew up at a FedEx Corp distribution centre near San Antonio on Tuesday, officials said, and the FBI was investigating whether it was linked to a series of four homemade bombs that hit the Texas capital of Austin this month.

Officials did not say if the latest incident was the work of what Austin police believe could be a serial bomber responsible for the four earlier devices that killed two people and injured four others.

The blast at the FedEx facility in Schertz was the fifth in the state in the last 18 days. If it is linked to the others, it would be the first outside the Austin area and the first that involves a commercial parcel service.

Police discovered another package at the same location that they believe is also loaded with an explosive device, San Antonio police chief Bill McManus told reporters.

“There was one other package that we believe was also loaded with an explosive device that they are looking at right now,” Mr McManus told reporters in Schertz, which is about 30km northeast of San Antonio.

The blast knocked a female employee off her feet and may have caused a concussion, Mr McManus said. Federal officials on the scene said she had ringing in her ears and was treated and released.

The package, filled with nails and metal shrapnel, exploded shortly after midnight local time (5am Irish time) at the facility, about 105km south of Austin, the San Antonio Fire Department said on Twitter.

The company described it as a FedEx Ground sorting facility. About 75 people were working at the facility at the time, fire officials said.

The individual or people behind the bombings are likely to be highly skilled and methodical, said Fred Burton, chief security officer for Stratfor, a private intelligence and security consulting firm based in Austin.

“This is a race against time to find him before he bombs again,” Burton said.

The bombings in Austin did not appear to be linked to terrorism, White House spokesman Sarah Sanders said on Twitter on Tuesday. – Reuters