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Bomb Caused 23rd Street Explosion, Officials Say

By  Katie Honan and Paul DeBenedetto | September 18, 2016 12:45pm | Updated on September 18, 2016 1:52pm

 Police Commissioner James O'Neill briefs reporters about a bombing on West 23rd Street in Chelsea at a press conference on Sept. 18.
Police Commissioner James O'Neill briefs reporters about a bombing on West 23rd Street in Chelsea at a press conference on Sept. 18.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

CIVIC CENTER — Parts from an exploded improvised explosive device were found at the site of the West 23rd Street explosion Saturday night, city and federal officials said.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill said Sunday the bomb parts were found in the vicinity of West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue, and a second device was being investigated by the NYPD Bomb Squad.

"We did find some components indicative of an IED," O'Neill said during a press conference at 1 Police Plaza.

The blast occurred near a rolling Dumpster at 131 W. 23rd St. at Sixth Avenue around 8:30 p.m. Sunday. Police said they later found a suspicious package nearby on West 27th Street, which the NYPD's Bomb Squad was testing at a secure Bronx facility in Rodman's Neck.

The explosion injured 29 people, all of whom were taken to nearby hospitals and released early Sunday, officials said.

The corner of West 23rd Street and Sixth Avenue, near the scene of an explosion on Sept. 17 in front of 135 West 23rd St. (DNAinfo/Katie Honan)

So far the bombing has no apparent connection to a separate Saturday incident in New Jersey, in which a pipe bomb exploded near a military race, but O'Neill said law enforcement would continue to investigate.

O'Neill added that the city is always on alert, and reassured residents that Saturday's bombing would be solved. 

"We talked about this over the last two years, how we foiled 20 plots in New York City, that was done by a very professional, highly trained law enforcement agency," he said. "This criminal act is going to be solved by those same people. So New York City residents can rest assured that we’ll get to the bottom of this."

►READ MORE: Here's What We Know — And Don't Know — About the 23rd Street Explosion

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo toured the area surrounding the explosion Sunday morning and spoke with residents who live and work in the community, most of whom were shaken by the blast but ready to get on with their lives, the mayor said.

"I want to commend my fellow New Yorkers who deal with challenges with incredible resiliency...who are not intimidated by anything," de Blasio said at the press conference.

"By and large, people are getting back to business as usual," the mayor added.

►READ MORE: New Yorkers Near Scene of Manhattan Explosion Adamantly Refuse To Panic

The mayor urged all New Yorkers to remain vigilant, especially in light of the upcoming U.N. General Assembly, which begins in two days. Police presence would be "bigger than ever" during the annual international meeting, de Blasio said. Officials also said there would be increased police presence at locations across the city, and that commuters could expect increased bag searches in the subway.

While adding that the NYPD and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force were working to uncover the motivations for the attack, de Blasio on Sunday again stopped short of labeling the explosion a terrorist act.

"It's going to take a lot of careful investigation to get to the facts and get to the truth," de Blasio said "We’re not going to jump to conclusions."

Cuomo on Sunday morning said that while there was no link to "international terrorism," it was not yet clear whether there was a domestic terror link.

The NYPD asked anyone with information about the explosion to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).