* Car was sold three weeks ago
* Focus also on man caught on video near the scene (Adds sources suggesting possible plot)
NEW YORK, May 3 (Reuters) - Police say some evidence suggests the failed car bombing in New York’s Times Square may have involved more than one person and could have international ties, law enforcement sources close to the investigation said on Monday.
White House officials for the first time characterized Saturday’s incident, involving a black sport utility vehicle containing propane gas cylinders, gasoline cans, fireworks and timing devices, as attempted terrorism.
“Anybody that has the type of material that they had in a car in Times Square, I would say that that was intended to terrorize, absolutely,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters. “And I would say that whoever did that would be categorized as a terrorist, yes.”
Law enforcement sources in New York and Washington familiar with the investigation said the registered owner of the Nissan Pathfinder sold the car about three weeks ago.
The sources, who declined to identified, said the seller described the buyer as being 29- to 30-years-old and of Hispanic or Middle Eastern appearance.
They noted that investigators were also trying to identify a white man in his 40s who was seen on video near the car at the time of the incident.
The description of the buyer gave “some credibility to the statement that (investigators) believe there is more than one individual involved and that it is international in scope,” one source told Reuters.
The Washington Post cited a U.S. official who, recounting a conversation with intelligence officials, said, “Don’t be surprised if you find a foreign nexus ... They’re looking at some tell-tale signs and they’re saying it’s pointing in that direction.”
Officials cautioned against drawing any conclusions at this stage, however.
One senior U.S. intelligence official in Washington said: “I can’t at this point rule in or out the possibility of international connections. But it’s probably a little early to jump to firm and final conclusions. People need to let the facts lead where they will, and it’s unclear to me that all the facts are in.”
New York police interviewed the owner of the vehicle on Monday and scrutinized more video tapes from the incident that rattled New Yorkers and forced the evacuation of Times Square, which was packed with thousands of tourists. Streets were cleared from early evening until around sunrise on Sunday.
Authorities called the device amateurish, saying it generated smoke but failed to explode while the car was parked awkwardly in a packed Times Square with its engine running and hazard lights flashing.
The bomb could have set off a deadly fireball that would have blown out windows at the so-called crossroads of the world. (Additional reporting by Will Dunham and Deborah Charles) (Editing by Daniel Trotta and Paul Simao)
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