In Brief

Austin bombings: fourth blast raises fears of serial attacker

Two people have been killed and four injured in explosions across Texas capital this month

Texas police believe a serial bomber may be behind four explosions in state capital Austin this month that have left two people dead and four others injured. 

The latest blast, on Sunday night, injured two cyclists, aged 22 and 23, who were by the side of a road in a quiet residential area in the southwest of the city. Police say the men may have triggered a tripwire next to a fence.

Both victims were taken to a hospital with significant injuries and were said to be in a stable condition yesterday. The grandfather of one of the men told reporters that his grandson “had been left with what appeared to be nails stuck below his knees”, Sky News reports.

The three previous blasts involved parcel bombs left on doorsteps, says the BBC

The first bombing, on 2 March, killed 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House at his home in north Austin. The second bomb went off on the morning of 12 March in the east of the city, killing Draylen Mason, 17, and injuring his mother. A few hours later, a third blast at a home in southeast Austin seriously injured a 75-year-old woman.

Both of the deceased victims were black, while the two injured women were black and Hispanic, leading detectives to investigate the bombings as possible hate crimes. However, both of the victims of Sunday’s attack were white and the apparent use of a tripwire “suggests a perpetrator aiming for random targets”, says The Guardian

“With so little known about who is behind the attacks and whether they will continue, the city is on edge, with many residents appearing unsure of whether to proceed with normal life or stay in hiding,” says The New York Times.

Austin police have asked the bomber to contact them and explain the motivation behind the attacks.

Terrorism expert Robert Pape, of the University of Chicago, told Reuters that the fact the attacker has not tried to get any publicity was worrying.

“The person is actually trying to provoke fear and that is made worse by simply not giving information about why,” Pape said.

A $115,000 (£82,000) reward has been offered for any information about the person or persons responsible.

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