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Potentially Lethal Backpack Bomb Defused on Spokane MLK Parade Route

The pictured backpack contained explosives and the two t-shirts shown. (photo courtesy of the FBI)

Yesterday, in Spokane, Washington, a ‘potentially lethal destructive device‘ concealed in a backpack on the route of the Martin Luther King parade was disarmed and destroyed before anyone in or viewing the parade was hurt.

A suspicious backpack discovered along the route of the Martin Luther King Jr. march in Spokane contained a bomb “capable of inflicting multiple casualties,” the FBI said Tuesday.

The FBI said the bomb was found about 9:25 a.m. PST on Monday on a bench at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue in downtown Spokane.

A bomb disposal unit neutralized the device. The FBI said is a statement that “the backpack contained a potentially deadly destructive device, likely capable of inflicting multiple casualties.”

A reward has been offered for information regarding the device in the backpack:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s terrorism task force is offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for planting the bomb. The FBI on Tuesday issued a bulletin asking for the public’s assistance.

Frank Harrill, special agent in the charge of the Spokane FBI office, would not discuss what specifically made the bomb so dangerous but said the investigation has become a top priority.

“It definitely was, by all early analysis, a viable device that was very lethal and had the potential to inflict multiple casualties,” Harrill said. “Clearly, the timing and placement of a device _ secreted in a backpack _ with the Martin Luther King parade is not coincidental. We are doing everything humanly possible to identify the individuals or individual who constructed and placed this device.”

There was more than a bomb in the backpack:

The bomb was discovered in a Swiss Army-brand backpack that was placed on a park bench at 9:25 a.m. at the northeast corner of North Washington Street and West Main Avenue.

Two T-shirts were located in the bag. One reads “Stevens County Relay For Life June 25th-26th 2010” and another shirt reads “Treasure Island Spring 2009.” The FBI is working with other federal agencies and virtually all local police agencies with the investigation as part of the Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force.

The FBI isn’t saying whether the current investigation has any links to a previous bomb discovered last year in Spokane:

Meanwhile, federal investigators continue to investigate an explosive device that was discovered March 23 alongside the Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse. Harrill said agents have not made an arrest in that previous case.

“We don’t know, at this point, of any linkage to any other incident,” Harrill said, referring to the Monday discovery. “We are not aware of any other events that prefaced this event … or threats associated with this device. Nor does it appear to be linked to any other incidents in Spokane or anywhere else in the country. But, that certainly is a focus for us.”

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Teddy Partridge

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