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Sun 18 Sep 2016 03:53 PM

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UAE citizens in New York urged to avoid public places

UAE consulate in New York issues warning following blast in downtown Manhattan this morning

UAE citizens in New York urged to avoid public places
Onlookers stand behind a police cordon near the site of an explosion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, New York, U.S. September 17, 2016. (Reuters/Rashid Umar Abbasi)

UAE nationals in New York have been warned to avoid public places following the explosion in Manhattan earlier this morning.

An explosion rocked the bustling Chelsea district of Manhattan at around 5am UAE time, injuring at least 29 people in what authorities described as a deliberate, criminal act, while saying investigators had turned up no evidence of a "terror connection."

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and other city officials said investigators had ruled out a gas leak as the cause of the blast, but they stopped short of calling it a bombing and declined to specify precisely what they believed may have triggered the explosion.

Police said a sweep of the neighbourhood following the blast had turned up a possible "secondary device" four blocks away consisting of a pressure cooker with wires attached to it and connected to a cell phone.

Following the blast, UAE’s consulate in New York city said it is following events closely, and warned the emirates’ citizens in the city to exercise caution and avoid public places in the city, as well as compliance with security officials.

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