New York: പുതുവര്ഷത്തില് ക്യൂന്സില് നടന്ന തീ വെയ്പ്പ് പരമ്പരയുടെ മുഖ്യസൂത്രധാരനെന്ന് കരുതുന്ന പ്രതി പ്രശ്നക്കാരനാണെന്നതിന് കൂടുതല് തെളിവുകള് ലഭിച്ചു. പോലീസ് പുറത്തുവിട്ട രേഖാചിത്രത്തിലെ പ്രതിയ്ക്കെതിരെ ഹില്സൈഡ് ഡെലിയിലെ 179-ാം സ്ട്രീറ്റിലുള്ള സൂപ്പര്മാര്ക്കറ്റിലെ ജീവനക്കാരാണ് രംഗത്തുവന്നത്. ഇവിടെ നിന്ന് പാലും സ്റ്റാര്ബക്സ് ഫ്രാപ്പുച്ചിനോയും മോഷ്ടിക്കാന് ശ്രമിച്ചതിന് ഇയാളെ ജീവനക്കാര് കൈയോടെ പിടികൂടിയിരുന്നു.
എന്നാല് മോഷ്ടിച്ച സാധനങ്ങള് തിരിച്ചു നല്കിയതിനാല് ഇയാള്ക്കെതിരെ ഇവര് പോലീസില് പരാതി നല്കിയിരുന്നില്ല. സംഭവത്തിനുശേഷം ഇതിന് നിങ്ങള് അനുഭവിക്കും എന്ന് ഇയാള് ഉറക്കെ വിളിച്ചു പറഞ്ഞതായി സൂപ്പര് മാര്ക്കറ്റിലെ ജോലിക്കാര് പറയുന്നു. കാറുകള് കത്തിക്കാന് ഉപയോഗിച്ച ബോംബുകളെല്ലാം ഫ്രാപ്പുച്ചിനോ ബോട്ടിലുകളില് നിര്മിച്ചവയായിരുന്നുവെന്ന് പോലീസ് അന്വേഷണത്തില് കണ്ടെത്തിയിരുന്നു.
It was around 10 p.m. Sunday when a man in a hooded sweatshirt drove up to a home on 170th Street in Jamaica, Queens, and stepped out holding a glass bottle.
Slowly and deliberately, the man threw the bottle — transformed into a Molotov cocktail by the addition of flammable liquid and a wick — toward the bay window of the home, which houses a small Hindu temple.
Ramesh Maharaj, 62, a Hindu priest who lives in the house, rushed from his bed to the lawn and found the bottle burning harmlessly.
“It smelled like kerosene,” said Mr. Maharaj. “The intention from the behavior of the guy was to do destruction.”
The New York police say this small temple was one of four sites firebombed in Jamaica on Sunday night. No injuries were reported. Assisted by federal and state authorities, the police are investigating the firebombings as possible bias attacks. A security camera captured the attack on the temple.
In three of the four attacks, Starbucks Frappucino bottles were used, the police and witnesses said.
One attack occurred at an Islamic center where about 100 people were worshiping, and another at a bodega owned by a Muslim immigrant from Yemen. At the fourth site, a house on 107th Avenue, the residents said that they were Christians and that they were baffled by the attack.
In a fifth episode on Sunday night, a bottle containing flammable liquid was thrown onto the porch of a house in Elmont, just across the Nassau County border. The case had “some characteristics” of the pattern in Queens, a spokesman for the Nassau County police said.
No arrests were made as of Monday night. The police released a sketch of a suspect and described him as a black man 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds and wearing a black jacket and a baseball cap. He was seen driving a light-color sedan.
The Queens attacks occurred in one of the more diverse stretches of the city’s most diverse borough. Jamaica Avenue and Hillside Avenue, two main thoroughfares, are dotted with halal shops, Latino restaurants, Hindu temples and storefront Christian churches. Once predominantly black, the neighborhood has had influxes of immigrants from many parts of the world, including Guyana, the West Indies, Central America, South Asia, and Arabic-speaking lands.
“Everyone gets along, no problems,” said Salem Ahmed, 38, the owner of the bodega, on Hillside Avenue and 180th Street, that was firebombed about 8 p.m.
Mr. Ahmed said a man ran into the store and threw a flaming bottle over the deli counter at the small 24-hour grocery store, which he opened soon after arriving from Yemen 20 years ago.
The bottle fell to the floor without breaking and caused a small fire easily extinguished by a worker, he said.
He said his first thought was about a man whom workers threw out for shoplifting. “But I don’t think it’s him,” he said.
In the attack on the Al-Khoei Islamic Center, along the Van Wyck Expressway, two flaming bottles were thrown at the entrance, causing a small fire shortly before 9 p.m.
Imam Maan Al-Sahlani, an Iraqi immigrant, said a service had just ended when the attack took place. There was little damage, he said, but the attack caused concern among some members that Muslims might have been targeted.
“You really can’t accuse one religion or a party without knowing more about it,” he said.
He said that the center, which opened in 1989, had had no disputes with anyone. It serves a diverse membership with services held in English, Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Its leaders are mostly Iraqi immigrants, and its members are mostly Lebanese.
The imam said he had heard about the attack on the Hindu temple, and added, “Some people confuse Hindus and Muslims.” The police had promised protection for the Islamic center, and the stepped-up security had reassured its members.
“We’re trying to convince them that everything’s fine,” he said.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo asked the State Police to help with the investigation, and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “No matter what the motivation was of the individual who threw Molotov cocktails in Queens last night, his actions stand in stark contrast to the New York City of today that we’ve built together.”
In Elmont, Bejai Rai and his wife were getting ready for bed in their home on Glafil Street around 9:40 when they heard a loud crash, Mr. Rai said, “as if the chandelier had fallen down.” One of their sons watched as a man rushed away and into a late model two-door car, either champagne or silver in color.
Mr. Rai said it appeared that the bottle had bounced off the house and crashed on the concrete walkway without setting anything afire.
“We are terribly nervous,” said Mr. Rai, a Hindu from Guyana. “If they’re going to bomb a house, to burn a house down, they want to kill us. Why would someone want to do that to us?”
Mr. Maharaj, who operates the Hindu temple, said Monday that he had not slept, but that he would conduct his usual prayer service Monday night.
The firebomber was seen on a security camera installed after a break-in last March. The attacker, Mr. Maharaj said, “should try to find God and be remorseful for what he has done.”