After an ISIS blog post calling for terrorist attacks on New York City’s Times Square, one of the world’s busiest tourist destinations, the NYPD has tightened security around the bustling site trafficked by 300,000 to 500,000 pedestrians every day. New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said that police patrols will also be ramped up in the New York subway system and the United Nations building — as well as around Jewish-oriented locations during the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days.
Bratton cited a posting spotted in an internet chat room used by ISIS terrorists, that called for attacks on Times Square. The post itself appeared to recycle an article from a 2010 Al Qaeda magazine, Inspire, and Bratton added that his department had not received any specific info indicating that an attack is imminent.
“There is no direct actionable intelligence in our possession, that indicates an attack likely in the Times Square area or anywhere in New York for that matter,” Bratton said.
But his apparent attempt to reassure the public did not stop NYPD counter-terrorism units from deploying stepped-up patrols, and the department continues to closely monitor online “chatter” about the ISIS threat to Times Square.
“We’re currently involved with our Federal partners in assessing that threat and analyzing its source,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said. “It purports to be of ISIS. It was posted in an online forum where we have seen other ISIS propaganda.”
The revelation of the online ISIS threat was originally reported on the news site Vocativ, which used special software that combs the web for particular keywords to uncover the posting.
The posting was headed To the Lone Wolves in America: How to Make a Bomb in Your Kitchen, to Create Scenes of Horror in Tourist Spots and Other Targets.
Unlike Al Qaeda, which favored spectacular, coordinated attacks by multiple teams of terrorists, ISIS appears more likely to employ “lone wolf” attacks — carried out by a single individual — Bratton said. The relative simplicity of such attacks makes recruiting terrorists to carry them out much easier.
“We are quite concerned, as you would expect, with the capabilities of ISIS much more than Al Qaeda ever was able to project their ability to use social media to try and spread their recruitment efforts,” the commissioner said.
The ISIS posting also suggested Las Vegas and other tourist-heavy locales as prime targets for “lone wolf” terror attacks.
The posting goes on to include a guide to creating homemade bombs, taken from the Al Qaeda magazine. The guide posted by ISIS is reportedly the same bomb-making manual used by Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, when they built the makeshift, but deadly bombs used to attack the Boston Marathon in 2013.