U.S.-Canada border crossings closed after vehicle explosion

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Updated Nov 26, 2023

Updated November 26, 2023, to reflect current bridge-closure status.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday said her state's police and the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force were investigating a vehicle explosion that's expected to cripple traffic throughout the region.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency said the bridges between New York and Canada on Wednesday would be closed until further notice as the FBI investigates a "vehicle explosion" that took place on Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls in Buffalo, New York. 

"The FBI Buffalo Field Office is investigating a vehicle explosion at the Rainbow Bridge, a border crossing between the U.S. and Canada in Niagara Falls. The FBI is coordinating with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners in this investigation," a statement from the FBI read. "As this situation is very fluid, that's all we can say at this time."

A CBP representative said that all bridges from Buffalo to Canada were closed as of 2 p.m. Eastern time. All have since reopened.

The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority said that it would increase security "system-wide" and advised travelers "to give themselves time for these extra precautions in addition to holiday travel."

Media reports from the scene say a vehicle sped into a checkpoint structure, caught on fire, and exploded. The reports allege two casualties -- the vehicle's occupants. 

The bridge closure could snarl traffic on one of the nation's busiest travel days, and follows an FBI warning that "war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack" in the United States.

The New York State Thruway Authority advised drivers to visit this website for real-time traffic information. 

The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the explosion, and that he's following the developments closely. 

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