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Blast in Manhattan subway set off by man wearing explosives

[NEW YORK] An explosive detonated near New York City's Times Square subway station Monday morning, sending ambulances racing through Midtown and commuters fleeing. Four people, including the suspect, were injured, police said.

One person was arrested after the explosion, which was reported to the Fire Department at 7.19 am, according to the Police Department Office of Public Information. The Associated Press reported that the suspect had an explosive device strapped on when it exploded, without citing a source.

"You can tell that it was not normal commuter noise," said Roxanne Malaspina, 50, an employee in Bloomberg LP's legal department. She had just gotten off the A train when she heard the explosion and joined a crowd running further into the station to catch a train away from the area.

"It created a little bit of a panic in that underground passageway," Ms Malaspina said. "It's not like normal commuter chaos."

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The attack was the second on New Yorkers in about six weeks, coming after a man in a rented truck drove up a crowded bike path on Halloween. Monday's explosion came at the height of the Christmas season, when the city is filled with daytrippers, shoppers and tourists expecting fairytale Manhattan.

In the Time Square station, which is the city's busiest, a "low, muffled sound" was heard when the bomb detonated, according to the New York Times. The NYPD said in a tweet that the explosion was reported where two subway stations are connected by a tunnel in the sprawling subterranean complex.

Mayor Bill de Blasio was briefed and was headed to the scene at 8:30 am, said Eric Phillips, his press secretary.

"Still a very active crime scene," Phillips said on Twitter. "NYPD on high alert/searching for any related activity at Port & on subway system - NONE reported so far." President Donald Trump was also briefed, according to spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

It was a chaotic beginning to the work week. Sirens echoed through the city as police cruisers and ambulances sped through the streets, and a traffic jam swiftly developed in front of the bus station on Eighth Avenue.

The Port Authority Bus Terminal, which is connected to the Times Square station by a tunnel, closed. Subway lines were delayed and bypassing Times Square, and PATH trains were accepting bus riders.

The motivation for the Monday blast was unclear.

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