The Rainbow bridge connecting the United States with Canada was shut down following a vehicle explosion, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local authorities. Two passengers in the vehicle are reported dead, and the incident is being investigated as a suspected terrorist attack. A border agent was also reportedly injured in the attack.
The bridge connects at Niagara Falls, New York and was immediately closed following the explosion. What triggered the initial security stop was not immediately clear. It is also not immediately clear what caused the explosion, reported ABC News.
Surveillance video showed the vehicle stopped at an initial security checkpoint, according to sources briefed on the investigation. The vehicle was then directed to a secondary security checkpoint, and at that point the vehicle sped up and crashed into the secondary screening location, sources said.
“The FBI Buffalo Field Office is investigating a vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge, a border crossing between the US and Canada in Niagara Falls,” the FBI said in a statement following the incident. “The FBI is coordinating with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in this investigation. As this situation is very fluid, that’s all we can say at this time.”
Investigators have found some sort of suitcase or briefcase on scene, sources told ABC News. They are treating it as a possible explosive device as a precaution and the bomb squad is handling the package.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “At my direction, the New York State Police is actively working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force to monitor all points of entry to New York. I am traveling to Buffalo to meet with law enforcement and emergency responders and will update New Yorkers when more information becomes available.”
The Buffalo Niagara International Airport said it’ll be increasing security, with car checks and additional screenings for travelers.
The White House is also monitoring the situation, a White House official said.
Canadian-U.S. border illegal crossings up 240% over previous year
The vulnerability of the northern border of the United States is being weaponized in the war on illegal migration. 2023 saw a 240% increase of individuals apprehended from just one year prior. Not only is the border with Canada significantly longer than its border with Mexico, but its ports of entry are often understaffed while the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is forced to prioritize the southern surge.
According to recent data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in 2023 authorities halted over 12,000 migrants attempting illegal crossings at the Canadian border. The number is a 240% increase from the preceding year when 3,579 individuals were apprehended.
ADN America reports that approximately 70% of the illegal crossings took place along a 295-mile stretch along the northern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire border called the Swanton Sector.
Chief patrol agent for the sector, Robert Garcia, posted on social media that the 3,100 individuals apprehended were from 55 different countries.
Garcia wrote “the record-breaking surge of illegal entries from Canada continues in Swanton Sector” and he specifically mentioned that the arrest of 10 Bangladeshi citizens was prompted by a citizen’s report in Champlain, New York.
Surprisingly, ADN reports:
A significant number of those engaging in illegal crossings are Mexicans who exploit the opportunity to fly to Canada without a visa, also avoiding the presence of cartels in their home countries.
Experts suggest that migrants can purchase a $350 one-way plane ticket from Mexico City or Cancun to Montreal or Toronto. This route is perceived as offering a lower likelihood of being turned away compared to those crossing the southern border.
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