FBI Warns Of Imminent Terror Threat Against L.A. Metro Red Line Station At Universal City

The FBI said on Monday evening that it was investigating a tip from a foreign source about an imminent bombing of the Metro Red Line’s Universal City station in Los Angeles. Federal and local enforcement said they have stepped up security across the city’s sprawling public transit system, following a warning on Monday about a possible terrorist attack on Tuesday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Deidre Fike, the assistant director at the FBI’s office in Los Angeles, said that an anonymous caller warned, through a public-safety hotline operated abroad by a foreign government, of a possible bomb attack on Tuesday against the Metro Red Line’s station at Universal City.

The unidentified foreign government passed the information to the FBI terrorism task force on Monday morning.

“Information was relayed this morning to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force from our international partners that there was a potential threat from an anonymous phone call that was made on a public safety line,” Fike said, according to USA Today.

“We continue to work this investigation and coordinating with our local partners and international partners,” he added.

Fike, according to the Los Angeles Times, declined to identify the country that sent the warning to the FBI but revealed that the tip was delivered in English. However, the fact that it was delivered in the English language does not necessarily mean that it came from the U.K.

At a news conference on Monday night, the FBI and Los Angeles area law enforcement officials said they were trying to assess the credibility of the threat, but emphasized that they were taking it very seriously because it was specific and imminent.

“This could be real, it could be a hoax. We’re asking the public to stay calm and vigilant,” said Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, in charge of security for the L.A. public transit system.

“We receive threats all the time, but this one was very specific with regard to date and location and for that reason we felt that it was important to provide some detail,” said FBI spokesperson Laura Eimiller, according to the Business Insider.

“This was to be a terrorist attack involving some sort of a detonation.”

Los Angeles Metro Red Line [Image by The Port Of Authority | Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and resized | CC BY-SA 3.0]

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck also said that although area law enforcement has always reviewed threats, the specific nature of the latest tip compelled a quick response.

Police authorities told the public to expect increased presence of uniformed law enforcement officers. K-9 units will also be searching for explosives.

McDonnell said that police would conduct undercover operations on Tuesday, while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned people that law enforcement would conduct random searches.

“There is no bigger priority for all of us than the safety and security of our people in Los Angeles,” he said. “With an abundance of caution, we always want to make sure that we have a posture to protect our people here in Los Angeles.”

Metro Red Line’s Universal City station, Los Angeles [Image by Metro96 |Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and resized | CC BY-SA 3.0]

“My advice is right now, everyone should go about their normal day tomorrow. People may see a heightened security presence… but don’t let those frighten you,” he added.

Chief Scott Edson, head of the Sheriff’s Department’s Homeland Security Division, responsible for counter-terrorism, cautioned against panic, but advised commuters to report suspicious presence and activity.

According to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, about 150,000 people commuting between North Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles board the Red Line daily.

The latest warning comes after a phone threat last year that forced district authorities to close schools for a day. But the threat was later determined not to be credible.

This sparked a debate whether the district had overreacted by closing schools for a day.

[Featured Image by Metro96 | Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and resized | CC BY-SA 3.0]

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