An unconfirmed New Year’s Eve terror threat leveled at three major U.S. cities has federal officials on the alert and local officials planning to deploy thousands of police to protect the public during the holiday.
The terror threat, coming from overseas, named New York, Los Angeles, and Washington as targets for attacks between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, according to CNN.
“The reality is terrorist-inspired individuals have conducted, or attempted to conduct, attacks in the United States this year.”
The threat of a terrorist attack is based on a single source and so far remains unconfirmed, but local and federal officials aren’t taking any chances.
The FBI is upping the number of agents at command centers across the country, including New York, Los Angeles, and Washington.
New York officials plan to position more than 6,000 police officers armed with long guns and radiation detectors to protect Times Square and the more than one million people expected this New Year’s Eve. That marks the largest such deployment in U.S. history.
The elite 500-member Critical Response Command, which launched two months ago, will also be on duty and Times Square partygoers can expect multilayer security and numerous checkpoints, counter-terrorism Chief James Walters told NBC News.
“We are very very confident that New Year’s Eve in New York City will be the safest place in the world to be.”
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, will also feature unprecedented security measures. Two-dozen local and federal law enforcement agencies will bring with them a dozen rapid response teams, bomb-sniffing dogs, cameras, and radiation detectors, according to Reuters.
Some 700,000 onlookers are expected to line the parade route while another 90,000 fans will be in attendance to watch the 102nd Rose Bowl.
U.S. officials continue to state they have no knowledge of a credible threat but have taken extra security measures in an abundance of caution. The Paris terror attacks and the San Bernardino mass shooting were also unplanned for events, and law enforcement officials aren’t taking any chances with New Year’s Eve celebrations.
America isn’t the only country to ramp up security measures before New Year’s Eve.
Police across Europe have gone on high alert following the capture of two people in Belgium accused of being involved in planning a New Year’s Eve terror attack. A friendly intelligence service then spread the word that European capitals could be the target of New Year’s Eve terror attacks, according to Time.
British citizens not living in London have been warned they may be at risk of a terror attack because there aren’t enough police in the country to protect them.
Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation in Britain, told the Daily Mail there was no surplus of police officers to spread around the country.
“There are only so many that can go around. Forces will be putting the firearms teams where the risk is the greatest.”
Meanwhile, Russia has announced it will be closing Moscow’s Red Square during New Year’s Eve celebrations, something it blamed on a TV film crew.
The TV station in question denies the accusation, however, leaving many citizens to suspect a cover-up, analyst Alexander Klyukin told the Telegraph.
“Closing Red Square for everyone in Moscow on New Year’s is like closing Times Square in New York.”
Officials are taking no chances, however, as ISIS has vowed vengeance for Russia’s involvement in Syrian air strikes.
The terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino have inflamed fears of another ISIS attack, but officials say they have spent months preparing to protect the public as 2016 draws to a close.
[Photo by Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images]