PIX11 News reports that New York City police have been placed on “heightened alert” for the holiday season, and one of the reasons for concern is a possible terrorist threat that could target New York or several other major American cities.
The report originally cited unnamed sources to say the police were responding to a “credible threat,” but PIX11 later revised their report after NYPD officials denied such a specific terrorist threat had been made.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also said there was “no new or credible threat against the city, but urged residents and visitors alike to be vigilant and report suspicious activity,” according to PIX11.
However, federal law enforcement sources did say they were looking at a “possible threat” that could affect several different cities, without detailing the nature of this threat.
It’s unclear if the federal sources were referring to the threatening video released by the Islamic State shortly after the Paris attack, which included scenes from New York City, including Times Square. The NYPD deployed officers from a new anti-terrorism squad as a precaution after this video surfaced, and the city has been on “high alert” ever since. Naturally, the San Bernardino terrorist attack elevated alert levels across the nation.
Another cause for concern mentioned in the report is the threatening email sent to school districts in New York and Los Angeles, prompting the closure of the L.A. school district, while NYC officials classified the email as a hoax.
“All New York City police officers received a bulletin Tuesday afternoon outlining the department’s tactical plan and warning officers to stay vigilant, according to sources. That communication mentioned social media being used as a tactic and that a possible attack could come without warning,” PIX11 reports.
“Expect to see increased police presence at iconic locations across multiple boroughs, including Times Square, St. Patrick’s Cathedral for Midnight Mass on Thursday, and Barclays Center in Brooklyn, marking the first time a threat has sparked a swell of police presence in a borough other than Manhattan,” the report continued.
Although Christmas and New Year’s Eve are generally seen as times for elevated concern about the risk of terrorism, President Obama said last Thursday that the federal government has no “specific and credible” information about a particular threat going into the 2015 holiday season. He followed up with a warning about attacks from from “small groups of terrorists like those in San Bernardino,” which are “harder to detect, and that makes it harder to prevent.”