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Authorities suspect possible terror cell linked to New York, New Jersey bombings

NEW YORK -- The intense investigation into the weekend bomb blasts in New York and New Jersey is leading authorities to signs of a possible terror cell in those two states, law enforcement officials said Monday.

The ongoing investigation, which includes two bombs in New York City and devices in two cities in New Jersey, has given authorities leads on specific people who are urgently being sought.

Police say they're looking for 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami in connection with the Chelsea bombing over the weekend.

Also on Monday morning, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the bombs found over the weekend have similarities, suggesting "there might have been a common linkage."

Cuomo said the investigation is ongoing, and he "wouldn't be surprised if it zeroes in on a particular individual, today even," and he "wouldn't be surprised if we found a foreign connection to the act."

A federal law enforcement official said BBs and ball bearings were among the pieces of metal that appeared to be packed into both pressure cooker bombs in New York.

One of those devices exploded on 23rd Street, but the fact that it was partly under a metal trash container may have diminished the force of the blast.

The latest developments came just hours after a backpack containing multiple bombs was found Sunday night near an Elizabeth, N.J., train station, according to the FBI and the city's mayor.

The backpack had up to five devices, Elizabeth Mayor Chris Bollwage said. It was found around 9:30 p.m. in a wastebasket outside a neighborhood pub, about 500 feet from a train trestle.

The two men who found the backpack thought it might contain something valuable, but they alerted police when they saw wires and a pipe on the devices, the mayor said. No cellphones or electronic timing devices were found, Bollwage said.

There is no indication yet that the latest incident in Elizabeth is connected to the bombing in a New York City neighborhood Saturday night that injured 29 people and the explosion from a garbage can near a charity run in Seaside Park, N.J.

In that incident, investigators discovered three pipe-bomb-type devices wired together. Only one exploded, and no one was injured.

Bomb technicians sent a robot to examine the devices in the backpack in Elizabeth. As the robot was doing so, one of the devices detonated.

"The robot that went in to disarm it, cut a wire and it exploded," Bollwage said.

The remaining four devices in the backpack will be transferred in protective cases to a local site and then will be taken to the FBI laboratory at Quantico, Va., Bollwage said.

Police checked all garbage cans in the immediate area, but found no other suspicious items.

But on Monday morning, police continued searching Linden and Elmora streets, close to where the backpack was found. The search was connected to the ongoing terror investigation, a law enforcement source said.

Trains resumed Monday morning after the New Jersey Transit suspended service going through Elizabeth station on Sunday night. Both New Jersey Transit and Amtrak warned of delays following the incident.

Elizabeth is about 16 miles southwest of New York City.