Suspect package ‘found at De Niro restaurant’

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US reports say actor Robert De Niro’s restaurant has been sent a suspected explosive device

A suspect package similar to those sent to CNN and senior Democrats has been sent to a New York restaurant owned by the actor Robert De Niro, US media say.

Citing police sources, NBC said a device had arrived at the Tribeca Grill early on Thursday local time.

If linked to previous packages, this would be the ninth explosive device sent to perceived critics of President Donald Trump this week.

De Niro is a vocal Trump opponent, and once called him “a national disaster”.

When the Oscar-winner criticised him at the Tony Awards in June, the president responded by calling De Niro a “very low IQ individual”.

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The New York Police Department said the restaurant building was empty at the time the suspicious device arrived, NBC reports.

Shortly after the news broke, President Trump appeared to pin the blame on the media, tweeting: “A very big part of the Anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the Mainstream Media that I refer to as Fake News.”

He made no direct reference to the device found at the restaurant, or any of the earlier incidents.

The series of bomb alerts began on Monday, when explosive devices were sent to locations in New York, the Washington DC area and Florida, authorities said on Wednesday.

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Media caption“Treasonous, traitor, corrupt” – but is that a Trump supporter or an Obama supporter talking about their opposition?

The first was found near the home of billionaire businessman George Soros, a major Democratic Party donor.

Other devices were sent to the following individuals, according to the FBI:

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
  • Former President Barack Obama
  • Former Vice-President Joe Biden
  • Former CIA Director John Brennan, care of CNN
  • Former Attorney General Eric Holder
  • California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters
  • Liberal philanthropist and financier George Soros (on Monday)

Two devices were sent to separate offices for Congresswoman Waters.

None of the devices went off. The FBI has launched a manhunt for their sender.

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CNN’s New York office was evacuated on Wednesday morning, after the package addressed to Mr Brennan was found in its mailroom.

The attempted bombings come just under two weeks before the mid-term elections, with US politics highly polarised.

President Trump first responded on Wednesday by telling the media to end the “constant negative and oftentimes false attacks”.

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Media captionDonald Trump: “Stop endless hostility”

He also called for more civility in public life, saying: “Those engaged in the political arena must stop treating political opponents as being morally defective.

“No-one should carelessly compare political opponents to historic villains, which is done often.”

The president made no specific reference to the intended recipients of the packages.

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The Time Warner building in New York City was evacuated on Wednesday morning

Why is this so political?

All the apparent bomb targets are regularly criticised by conservatives – and especially by Mr Trump.

The president’s critics have called his remarks hypocritical, as he often uses vicious language against his opponents and the press.

Some of his supporters have said they believe the packages are part of a Democratic plot to win votes in the mid-terms, but there is no evidence for this.

An FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force “will continue to work to identify and arrest whosoever is responsible for sending these packages,” the agency’s director Christopher Wray said in a statement.

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Media captionPence: ‘Those responsible will be brought to justice’

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