Right-wing figures slammed for rushing to brand Niagara blast a terrorist attack

A New York couple were killed on Wednesday when their car crashed at a border crossing between the US and Canada

Martha McHardy
Thursday 23 November 2023 19:03 GMT
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Rainbow Bridge: Surveillance footage shows car speeding moments before explosion

Right-wing figures have been slammed for rushing to brand a deadly Niagra Falls car explosion that killed two people a terrorist attack.

A New York couple, who have not been identified, were killed on Wednesday night when their car crashed at a border crossing between the US and Canada, leading to an explosion.

The couple, who lived in western New York, were reportedly on their way to a Kiss concert in Toronto but the gig was cancelled.

Their car was travelling at speed when it hit a curb on the US side of the border and became airborne before exploding, according to the FBI field office in Buffalo, New York.

The blast initially sparked fears of a terrorist attack and prompted Canadian and New York officials to briefly shutter four border bridges between the two nations and ground planes at nearby Buffalo Airport.

A Fox News report cited “high-level police sources” who linked terrorism to the crash and believed the two people travelling in the car packed it “full of explosives,” a claim the network later retracted.

Senator Ted Cruz also claimed the incident was a terror attack, tweeting: “This confirms our worst fear: the explosion at Rainbow Bridge was a terrorist attack.”

Surveillance footage captures moment car speeds into Rainbow Bridge

Meanwhile, other right-wing figures also linked the explosion to terrorism and blamed Joe Biden’s border policies, including Florida congressman Byron Donalds, who wrote in a since-deleted X post: “Open borders, soft-on-crime policies, and bending a knee to the woke PC mob.”

“Today’s apparent terrorist attack must be a wake-up call to all Americans. Now—more than ever—we need a change in leadership in our nation,” he said. “As authorities respond to this ongoing situation, I extend my prayers to all those impacted by this terror and pray for our great nation.”

Florida Senator Rick Scott and presidential contender Vivek Ramaswamy, as well as Donald Trump Jr, among others, also suggested the explosion was a terrorist incident, linking it to border enforcement policies.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul later confirmed at a press conference that there was “no sign of terrorist activity”.

The FBI’s Buffalo division also released a statement saying that no explosives had been found at the scene and that “no terrorism nexus was identified”.

Despite this, Fox News’ “attempted terrorist attack” report still remained on X hours later, something the organisation has been criticised for.

A vehicle burns at the Rainbow Bridge US border crossing with Canada, in Niagara Falls

CNN reporter Oliver Darcy criticized Fox News’ initial “terrorist attack” reporting in an interview with Abby Phillip on Wednesday.

“This was irresponsible reporting, this was reckless reporting and by all accounts, it was inaccurate reporting,” he said, adding that it was reported “for hours” and the network sent out a push alert on the terrorism report.

Political strategist Lindy Li also criticised Fox News, tweeting: “Contrary to what Fox News wants you to believe the car explosion on the Rainbow Bridge was NOT a terrorist attack but a terrible accident,” she said.

“Trump’s violent insurrection against our Capitol WAS a terrorist attack and NOT a normal tourist visit. Learn the b****y difference.”

Meanwhile, gun-control advocate Shannon Watts slammed Sen Cruz’s response, saying: “Ted Cruz tells us it’s too soon to talk about the causes of gun violence in the aftermath of every mass shooting tragedy, but he didn’t hesitate to rashly and wrongly tweet that America was under attack by terrorists.”

Niagara Falls Police Department is now investigating the crash.

The Independent has contacted Fox News for comment,

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