NEW YORK (UPI) — The New York Police Department said it would be strengthening its security preparations for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after the Islamic State said it would make a good target for a terror attack.
The NYPD made the announcement Monday after the militant group included pictures of the parade in a guide to mass terror attacks in the latest issue of its propaganda magazine.
Both local and federal law enforcement officials say there has been no specific threat to the parade, and the NYPD said it has had additional measures in place to stop vehicle-based attacks such as those described in the magazine for several years.
“As you’ll recall, last year the route was lined with hundreds of blocker cars, very much similar to what we do along presidential routes,” said John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism for the NYPD.
In the latest issue of Rumiyah, an official magazine of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, the group called the parade “an excellent target” in a caption under a picture of a previous parade, pointing out that “vehicle attacks are one of the most effective weapons in the terrorist arsenal.”
“Though being an essential part of modern life, very few actually comprehend the deadly and destructive capability of the motor vehicle and its capacity of reaping large numbers of casualties if used in a premeditated manner,” the authors of the feature “Just Terror Tactics” wrote in the English-language magazine.
The NYPD plans to block the 2.5-mile parade route with hundreds of cars as blockers and will have an expanded presence starting hours before the event.
Recognizing the potential for danger, the NYPD has visited nearly 200 nearby locations where people can rent trucks since after a large cargo truck was used to drive through a crowd in a July attack in Nice, France. The force has been investigating tips called into them continuously, noting that nothing credible has been reported.
Miller said the potential for an attack using a vehicle did not suddenly occur to the NYPD last weekend when the magazine was published, joining other NYPD officials to say the city is prepared and the parade will be safe.
“This is what they usually do before any big event, especially Fourth of July, Thanksgiving Day Parade, New Year’s Eve,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill. “But we have to sift through the threats to see what’s credible, so we’re in the process of assessing that now.”
“We handle these large events almost every day,” O’Neill said. “Come down to the parade. It’s going to be safe. It’s going to be the safest place in New York City.”
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