Potential ISIS Threat Leads to Increased Security at D.C. Area Malls Ahead of Halloween Weekend

Police and first responders gather at the Gannett headquarters, home of USA Today, in McLean, Virginia, on August 7, 2019. - The newspaper USA Today evacuated its headquarters in northern Virginia on Wednesday following an alleged sighting of an armed man at the building, but later said the report was …
ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

Northern Virginia authorities are increasing security efforts at malls and shopping centers outside of Washington, DC, over Halloween weekend in response to a potential ISIS threat, reports say.

Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis announced in an October 29 press conference that police would be ramping up security efforts over the weekend.

“Yesterday, we received information concerning potential public safety impacts to malls and shopping centers across the region,” said Davis, according to Fox News. “As you all know, we take any and all information very seriously and as we work to corroborate it, we have increased our police presence throughout the county to include major thoroughfares, transit hubs, shopping plazas and shopping malls.”

Sources reportedly informed CBS News that the threat stems from ISIS and is at the core of the heightened security measures.

Fox 5 DC reports the threat “could be linked to an activated ISIS cell,” and the outlet was reportedly told, “the cell could carry out an attack within the next 72 hours.”

Police say that the increased security efforts will occur throughout the weekend leading up to Virginia’s gubernatorial election on Tuesday between Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin and former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), according to CBS News.

“It’s just our responsibility to have a greater presence, to be more aware and to ask the community to have their eyes and ears peeled for suspicious activities,” Davis said, according to CBS News. 

Since the Biden Administration’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, there has been an increase in threats from ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Officials say ISIS has been more active in the United States since the withdrawal, according to CBS News, and threats from both ISIS and Al Qaeda have been on the rise.

This week, Department of Homeland Security Intelligence Chief John Cohen that terrorist organizations want individuals to carry out attacks on their own as lone wolves, according to CBS News.

“Right now we’re seeing a dramatic increase — or an increase — in online activity by media operations associated with different al Qaeda elements and Islamic State,” Cohen said, according to the outlet. 

Then Loudon County Sheriff’s Office released a statement regarding the security threats.

“The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is aware of information that is circulating in our region regarding potential threats to malls and shopping centers this weekend in the Washington, DC area,” the office wrote in a Facebook post.

“This information is limited and there is nothing specific to Loudoun County,” the sheriff’s office stated. “As we work to corroborate the information with our local, state, and federal partners in the National Capital Region, the LCSO will increase patrols this weekend in high visibility locations to include shopping centers, malls, and other commercial establishments.”

Statement from LCSO on Potential Public Safety Impacts to National Capital RegionThe Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office…

Posted by Loudoun County Sheriff's Office on Friday, October 29, 2021

On Halloween in 2017, ISIS terrorist Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov drove a truck into pedestrians, killing eight people and injuring about a dozen more in lower Manhattan. Saipov pledged his allegiance to ISIS after the vicious attack. Witnesses said when he exited the truck, he shouted, “Allahu Akbar.”

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