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A suspect linked with a series of deadly parcel bombs targeting the Texan city of Austin is dead after a major police operation, officials say.

The man was killed after detonating a device when officers approached his car off a highway in the city of Round Rock, north of the state capital.

He has been named by US media as Mark Anthony Conditt, aged 23.

The incident follows four bomb attacks in Austin and one in Schertz, 65 miles (104km) south.

How did events unfold?

Late on Tuesday, the Austin police department used footage from a FedEx store in south Austin, the scene of the latest parcel bomb explosion, to identify the male suspect.

After using the Google search engine to gather information on the suspect’s online browsing history, which showed searches on facilities which were used to ship packages, authorities later managed to locate his vehicle.

In the early hours of Wednesday, local and federal officers then took up positions around a parking area belonging to a hotel in Round Rock, about 20 miles (32km) north of Austin.

As they waited for tactical teams to arrive, the vehicle started to drive away, and officers pursued it.

When the vehicle eventually pulled over, armed officers approached, but the suspect then detonated a bomb, injuring one officer. Another officer opened fire.

Police later confirmed that the blast had killed the suspect.

Austin police chief Brian Manley said that local residents should “remain vigilant”, and urged anyone who noticed a suspicious package to contact the authorities.

“We don’t know where the suspect has been over this past 24 hours,” he said, adding that it was possible that additional devices may have been distributed.

Mr Manley also praised his colleagues in a tweet. “I can’t thank the men and women of #AustinPD or our Federal partners enough for their tireless work in restoring peace to our community,” he said.

Earlier, CCTV images of a “person of interest” were shared on US media showing a white male with blond hair carrying a number of large packages at a FedEx store in Austin.

Austin has been on edge amid the attacks, which have led to the deployment of hundreds of police officers in the city.

Two people have been killed and six injured in the bombings.

What do we know about the bombings?

Authorities have said that a series of blasts that began in Austin in early March – involving package bombs and a tripwire – were all related:

  • 2 March: A device explodes at Anthony Stephan House’s home in Austin, killing the 29-year-old man
  • 13 March: Hours later, a 75-year-old Hispanic woman, who has not been named, is injured by another package in the state capital
  • 18 March: A device injures two men who may have set off a tripwire while walking along a street in Austin
  • 20 March: A parcel bomb explodes at a FedEx depot in Schertz, slightly injuring one person. Police said the parcel had been due to be shipped to Austin

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Too soon to relax

By Gary O’Donoghue, BBC News, Austin

This was a dramatic denouement to a three-week reign of terror.

It was only in the past 36 hours or so that police really got a handle on the possible identity of the suspect, who had foxed them for weeks by changing the nature of his targets and his method of operation.

But the sheer number of devices – six in all – in such a short period of time may have been one factor that eventually led to his pursuit and apparent suicide.

Another crucial factor was the one device that didn’t go off. That gave police key leads and allowed them to isolate CCTV evidence of the suspect dropping off one of the devices at a FedEx office.

As police continue to gather evidence at the scene, motivation will be the question on everyone’s lips in Texas.

And while this might feel like it’s over, the admission from police that they don’t know where the suspect was for the past day means more devices could be out there and it is too soon for Austin to completely relax.

What has President Trump said?

US President Donald Trump has praised the work of the authorities in Austin.

“Great job by law enforcement and all concerned!” he tweeted.

Mr Trump said earlier that “a very, very sick individual, or maybe individuals” carried out the blasts and pledged justice for the victims.

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BBC News – World