An explosion has been reported on the American side of the U.S.-Canada border at the Rainbow Bridge crossing.
ABC Buffalo reports that the bridge is closed in both directions "due to an incident involving a vehicle coming into the U.S."
"A spokesperson for the Niagara Falls Mayor's Office said the closure will be in place until further notice, and federal authorities are currently investigating the situation," the news outlet reported.
It's not known at this time whether the explosion was an accident, a terror attack, or something else.
Video from the area shows a massive cloud of smoke in the vicinity of the bridge. Reporter Keean Bexte tweeted that "a vehicle containing an unknown number of people and contents exploded."
The FBI Buffalo Field Office is investigating the explosion at the border.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul says she is closely monitoring the situation:
It appears to have been a massive blast:
These photos appear to show the explosion scene, but this early in the investigation, PJ Media cannot confirm whether they are authentic.
ABC News reports that "Law enforcement is placing K-9 officers on each of the international bridges in the area as a precautionary measure, according to sources."
Update 1:44 p.m.: This video appears to show a fire at the Rainbow Bridge plaza. Justin Hart reminds us that just yesterday, the FBI announced an increased terror threat in New York State related to the Palestinian protests.
"Our most immediate concern is that violent extremists, individuals or small groups, will draw inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks against Americans going about their daily lives," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "That includes not just homegrown violent extremists, inspired by a foreign terrorist organization, but also domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish or Muslim communities. We've already seen that with the individual we arrested last week in Houston."
The report from the Joint Terrorism Task Force, which seems sympathetic to Hamas, warned, "The expansion of Israeli operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and increase in civilian casualties raises the likelihood that violent extremist threat actors will seek to conduct attacks against targets in the West, with New York State being a focus. Terrorist messaging has placed focus on attacking 'soft targets' such as protests, group gatherings, and other public events."
Update 2:01 p.m.: Fox News correspondent Alexis McAdams reports that "High level police sources tell me this is an attempted terrorist attack. Sources say the car was full of explosives. Both men inside dead."
Update 2:27 p.m.: Fox News reports that authorities are looking for a second car. They also note that both the passenger and the driver of the exploded vehicle are dead. A Border Patrol agent was also injured on the scene. His injuries are not thought to be serious.
Update 2:50 p.m.: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, speaking before the House of Commons, announced that four border crossings are currently closed: Rainbow Bridge, Peace Bridge, Whirlpool Bridge, and Queenston Bridge. "Additional measures are being contemplated and activated at all border crossing across the country. We are taking this extraordinarily seriously," he said.
Here's the scene right now at the Peace Bridge.
While this will no doubt disrupt many holiday plans, we can be grateful that only the terrorists were killed in the explosion.
Update 3:12 p.m.: Reports are coming in that the car originated on the American side of the Rainbow Bridge and was spotted at a 7-Eleven store before the attack. Via the Niagara Gazette: "Traveling down Niagara Street, the car sped onto the bridge plaza, went through a fence separating the inbound lanes from the outbound lanes, and toward the inspection lanes where it exploded, according to law enforcement sources at the scene."
Based on what we're seeing, it appears that CBP or its Canadian counterpart may have thwarted a MAJOR terror attack on the Rainbow Bridge with hundreds of fatalities. Imagine if that car had blown up on the bridge. Thank God for the men and women who run to the danger. https://t.co/l2SH6udpBv
— Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard) November 22, 2023
Update 3:54 p.m.: Eyewitness Ricky Wilson told reporters that he saw car going around in circles at a high rate of speed. It then moved toward the bridge. He believes it hit a barrier and flew 10-15 feet in the air before exploding.
There is some speculation that a collision at that high rate of speed, rather than explosives, could have caused such an explosion, but that has not been confirmed.