SANTA MONICA | April 7, 2011 UPDATE: April 8, 2011 8:30 p.m.
Earlier this morning, it was reported that a pipe bomb exploded this Thursday morning at 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Chabad House Lubavitch located at 1428 17th Street, Santa Monica, California, near the intersection of 17th Street and Broadway. A Chabad House is a centre for disseminating Orthodox Judaism by the Chabad movement where the Shaliach and Shalucha (rabbi and his wife) host programs, activities, and services for the local Jewish community and tourists. Chabad House Lubavitch opened its doors in 1972 and has served thousands of people.
Due to what was thought to be a pipe bomb explosion, police had evacuated a four-block area and were investigating the possibility of a hate crime. Sources familiar with the incident state that the purported bomb exploded just north of the temple and it is was to be determined as to whether the Chabad House Lubavitch was specifically targeted.
There are no reports of injuries and the Los Angeles Police Department Bomb Squad, the FBI and the Santa Monica Police are all on scene.
UPDATE: April 7, 2011 1:35 p.m.
Sgt. Jay Trisler of the Santa Monica Police has come forward with a statement that there was no foul play involved in an explosion Thursday morning at the Chabad House Lubavitch, and as such, this was neither a hate crime nor was the Chabad House Lubavitch a target. Apparently, the reported explosion may have originated with a pipe under a walkway according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
No injuries were reported although there was moderate damage to an apartment building as well as the Chabad House Lubavitch. Broadcast reports also showed a hole in the roof of a nearby house due to falling debris.
UPDATE: April 8, 2011 8:30 p.m.
The Santa Monica Police have come forward yet again on this matter, and after reviewing information provided from all sources, what was originally thought to be a pipe bomb explosion later thought to be a exploding pipe, law enforcement officials now believe that it was actually a home-made explosive device. The officials from the Santa Monica Police on Friday issued an alert to other law enforcement agencies, stating that detectives want to speak with a specific man in connection with the case. They said the man frequents synagogues and Jewish community centers and should be considered "extremely dangerous."
The Los Angeles Times was told by law enforcement that the homemade explosive device contained gun powder and concrete and upon explosion, sent a 300-pound metal pipe flying through the air until it crashed through the roof of a home next door to the Chabad House Lubavitch.