This image obtained Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, and provided by ABC News shows a package addressed to former CIA head John Brennan and an explosive device that was sent to CNN's New York office. The mail-bomb scare widened as law enforcement officials seized more suspicious packages. (ABC News via AP)
Pipe bombs packed with shards of glass were intercepted en route to several prominent Democrats, including former US president Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, amid deepening political tensions and fears two weeks before national US midterm elections.

Yesterday, a New York City police bomb squad recovered a suspicious package addressed to actor Robert de Niro, who has been critical of President Donald Trump. Investigators said it contained a similar device as those sent to Democratic figures and CNN.

None of the seven bombs detonated and no one was hurt as authorities in New York, Washington, DC, Florida and California seized the suspicious packages. The targets of the bombs were some of the figures most frequently criticised by Trump.

Trump also often singles out cable news network CNN and other news media whose reporting he does not like, terming them “fake news”.

Yesterday, without directly referencing the explosive devices, Trump again blamed the media for the “anger” in society. “A very big part of the anger we see today in our society is caused by the purposely false and inaccurate reporting of the mainstream media that I refer to as fake news,” he said in a morning tweet. “It has gotten so bad and hateful that it is beyond description. Mainstream media must clean up its act, fast!” Hours earlier, he took a softer tone at a rally in Wisconsin: “Let’s get along."

The attacks overtook other news in an already-tense political season that could reshape Congress and serve as a referendum on the first two years of Trump’s presidency.

The actions, which caused panicked building evacuations and reports of additional explosives that later proved unfounded, are bound to add to fears that overheated rhetoric could lead to deadly violence as the parties fight over immigration, the Supreme Court and the treatment of women.

The bombs, each with a small battery, were about 15cm long and packed with powder and broken glass, said a law enforcement official. The official said the devices were made from PVC pipe and covered with black tape.

The first crude bomb had been delivered on Monday to the New York compound of George Soros, a liberal billionaire and major contributor to Democratic causes. The FBI said an additional package was intended for former attorney-general Eric Holder, but ended up at a Florida office of Democratic representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, whose return address was on it. Later, two packages addressed to Democrat Maxine Waters had been intercepted.

The White House condemned the attacks aimed at Democrats and other perceived foes of the administration.

“Acts or threats of political violence have no place in the United States,” Trump said. “This is abhorrent.”

Other Republican leaders said the same. The devices were all sent to an FBI lab to be studied. No suspect or motive is known yet. Investigators are reviewing security video to identify a courier believed to have delivered the pipe bomb to CNN’s office. AP