WASHINGTON - The hunt is on for the suspect behind the failed bombing that could have set off a deadly fireball in New York City's Times Square.
Police say the makeshift explosive could have hurt or killed many people. Thanks to the actions of a few alert observers, New York City has dodged another terror attack.
Suspicious Man in Alley
A surveillance video captured images of the man investigators believe could be responsible for the scare at Times Square.
The footage shows a suspicious man in an alley taking off one shirt and exposing another one underneath.
CBN News Terrorism Analyst Erick Stakelbeck has more on the New York City bombing attempt. Click play for his comments.
After he changes his shirt, the man walks off looking back towards a Nissan Pathfinder that was later found to be packed with explosives.
"Clearly it was the intent of whoever did this to cause mayhem, to create casualties," New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
Inside the SUV, investigators found ordinary items to make a homemade bomb including propane tanks used for barbeque grills, five-gallon containers filled with gasoline, fertilizer, and store-bought firecrackers.
Too Close for Comfort
Authorities say that had the explosive worked correctly, it could have set off a firebomb in one of New York's most iconic tourist destinations. They were thanking alert New Yorkers for doing their part reporting suspicious activity.
"I was coming out of Toys 'R Us and the car started smoking and then I started seeing flames," one little boy said.
"I saw the propane tanks and the gasoline," street vendor Duane Jackson recalled. "What if that would have ignited? I mean I'm less than eight feet from the car. We dodged a bullet here."
The plot set off claims of responsibility from several terror groups, including the Taliban in Pakistan. But so far, police and federal agents say there's no evidence to support those claims.
Terror Capital of America?
President Obama said his national security team and other officials were closely monitoring the case.
"We are going to do what is necessary to protect the American people, to determine who is behind this potentially deadly act and to see that justice is done," the president said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city was lucky to escape without any harm, pointing out the brave work of the NYPD, the New York Fire Department, and the FBI.
"This is the crossroads of the world," Bloomberg said. "People feel safe in New York and they will continue to come here."
However, this latest plot shows New York is a city perpetually framed in the crosshairs of terror.