WASHINGTON — Four of the busiest border crossing points between Canada and the United States were abruptly closed Wednesday after a vehicle exploded at a U.S. checkpoint in Niagara Falls.
The FBI confirmed it is investigating the explosion, which took place on the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge crossing in upstate New York.
Videos posted to social media show smoke and flames and the wreckage of at least one vehicle at the checkpoint complex on the U.S. side of the Niagara River.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told the House of Commons that Canada was working closely with the U.S. and taking the matter "extremely seriously" before he excused himself to attend a briefing.
Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc called it a "violent circumstance" and a source of concern for both countries, but warned against speculation in the absence of more details.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement that she had been fully briefed and was monitoring the situation closely.
Media reports suggest the vehicle was trying to enter the U.S. from Canada.
All four crossings between Canada and New York state are closed.
Niagara regional police say they are also monitoring developments and that there is no known threat on the Canadian side of the border.
CNN reported that the vehicle exploded in the secondary screening area after entering the customs complex at a high rate of speed. It's not clear if the vehicle had been referred for inspection.
The incident comes just one week after FBI director Christopher Wray warned a congressional committee about a heightened risk of extremism linked to the Israel-Hamas war.
Trudeau's office said in a statement that he had been briefed by his national security and intelligence adviser about "the situation in Niagara Falls."
It said the public safety minister, the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency are "fully engaged and providing all necessary support," and "we are in contact with the U.S. officials."
"Our provincial law enforcement is actively engaged in assessing the situation," Ontario Premier Doug Ford said in a statement.
"They are working with local law enforcement and are providing support as required."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2023.
— With files from The Associated Press.
James McCarten, The Canadian Press