Reported Pipe Bomb Explodes Outside Chabad Shul In Santa Monica [UPDATED 2:20PM EST]

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1:10PM EST: [UPDATE IN EXTENDED ARTICLE] A device believed to be a pipe bomb exploded about 6:45 a.m. Thursday in the parking lot of a Chabad Shul in Santa Monica, authorities said.

No details were available regarding injuries or damage.

The incident occurred at a synagogue near 17th Street and Broadway in Santa Monica. Police evacuated a four-block area and were investigating the possibility of a hate crime.

Multiple sources familiar with the investigation said the device exploded just north of the temple. Authorities were trying to determine whether the temple in the 1400 block of 17th Street, Chabad House of Santa Monica, was specifically targeted.

There were no reports of injuries.

The FBI, Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad and Santa Monica Police were all on scene.

UPDATE 2:20PM EST FROM CHABAD: Santa Monica, Calif., police evacuated several blocks surrounding a downtown Chabad-Lubavitch center on the suspicion that an explosive device had been detonated.

There were no reports of injuries following the early morning explosion, which Rabbi Eli Levitansky said worshippers heard behind the Chabad House run by his brother and sister-in-law, Rabbi Isaac and Sara Levitansky.

Sgt. Darrick Jacob of the Santa Monica Police Department said that a call came in about the same time reporting that debris had fallen on an adjacent building’s roof. It was quite possible that the explosion was not caused by a bomb, said the officer.

A statement on the Chabad House’s Facebook page said that most of those at the synagogue Thursday morning “did not hear or feel anything.”

Isaac Levitansky “grabbed the new Torah scrolls” when police told them to exit the premises.

Backed by the fire department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s bomb squad, police officials decided to cordon off a several-block radius around the 1400 block of 17th street.

“We have to work our way down,” examining all possibilities,” said Jacob. “We have to load for bear, and look for squirrel.”

According to Eli Levitansky, worshippers continued their prayers outside before the evacuation radius was widened by authorities.

Almost four hours after the incident, Aliza Menkes, who directs the Jewish ritual bath a few doors down, said she couldn’t get home. Her son was at the synagogue when the explosion occurred.

“I don’t know anything,” she said. “We live two houses away from the Chabad House. When I left at 9 a.m., two to three blocks were evacuated. Police came in and told everyone to go out.”

Sara Levitansky said that despite the current wrinkle in the daily schedule, staff were pressing ahead with preparations for the fast approaching holiday of Passover, which begins April 18.

“We’re continuing with our preparations,” she said. “We’re picking up 500 pounds of matzah today to distribute to locals and use at our Passover Seders.”

 (Source: LA Times)


10 COMMENTS

  1. A mechanical failure that was initially believed to be a pipe bomb caused damage to a roof near of Chabad of Simcha Monica early Thursday morning.

    The incident took place near the Chabad House of Santa Monica at 1448 17th Street at 6:45 a.m. Some debris from the explosion landed on a nearby roof, but no injuries were immediately reported.

    Police evacuated a four-block area around the synagogue and roughly 100 residents were told to leave their homes.

    Sgt. Jay Trisler tells KNX 1070 that the explosion “was not an intentional act” and or the result of any type of “incendiary device.” Taken from crownheights.info

  2. #2 What part of “NOT a pipe bomb” do you not understand.

    A gas explosion caused by a propane tank commonly used for Pesach oven kashering could easily be mistaken for a bomb.

    #3 I’d be less skeptical if it was in EY because bombings are far more common, there. The last bombing of a Jewish facility in Los Angeles was when?

    Check your premises. Crying wolf before we know all the facts only makes us less credible.

  3. excuse me you are on the left coast and have more access to local information i can rely only on what is reported on Ywn and they reported a pipe bomb, even if it turns out you are correct it is still NOT a laughing matter

  4. SANTA MONICA, Calif.— An explosion
    shattered windows at a Jewish school and
    prayer house on Thursday and sent a 300-
    pound pipe into the roof of a house next door
    where a child was sleeping, prompting a bomb
    scare.

    “It was determined that it was not terrorist-
    related at all and appears to be some kind of
    industrial accident,” city fire Capt. Mark
    Bridges said. No injuries were reported.

    The explosion occurred at about 6:45 a.m.

    next to the Chabad House Lubavitch of Santa
    Monica, police said.

    Someone was trying to remove a large pipe
    that was stuck in concrete near an alley but
    the chemical mixture they used created
    pressure and launched the 4-foot-long pipe
    and plug of concrete into the air, Bridges said.

    “The device lifted up off the ground
    approximately 25 feet, punched a hole in the
    (Chabad House) and then ricocheted,” Bridges
    said.

    Authorities arrived to find the pipe sticking
    out of a hole in the roof of a house next door.
    Video from KNBC in Los Angeles showed a
    hole in the roof about two feet.

    “There was a child that was sleeping almost
    under where the device landed on the roof,
    but fortunately it didn’t break through the
    rafters,” Bridges said.

    Inspectors planned to talk to the person who
    was doing the work behind the house, Bridges
    said.

    About 100 people were evacuated from a
    four-block area for more than five hours while
    FBI and Los Angeles County sheriff’s bomb
    experts investigated.

    Rabbi Eli Levitansky said he was conducting a
    Passover service for about 20 people when he
    heard a loud boom. “We were just wondering
    what it was, there wasn’t any panic,” he said.

    When police and fire crews showed up,
    everyone realized the situation was more
    serious and left the building but continued
    services on the street, the rabbi said.

    Authorities allowed some people back in to
    retrieve the Torah scrolls, said Estee
    Levitansky, the rabbi’s sister-in-law. The
    scrolls are handwritten Hebrew copies of the
    first five books of the Bible.

    From AP at MSNBC.com