NEW YORK (1010 WINS/ WCBS 880/ CBS 2) – New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said that the police force is remaining vigilant and on alert after two bombs exploded at embassies in Rome on Thursday.
Although there are no specific threats against the city, Kelly said, the NYPD is not taking any chances.
“We’re on top of the terrorist target list. That’s the world in which we live. This is not new news for us,” Kelly said.
It’s a world where, Friday, two embassies in Rome were hit with package bombs. First the Swiss emassy and then the Chilean. Two employees who opened the packages are in serious condition. Italy’s foreigh minister called the attacks deplorable acts of violence.
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The NYPD is taking special precautions in the days leading up to Christmas and New Years, but Kelly would not elaborate.
“We’re doing some additional things this holiday season. We haven’t seen attacks focused on a particular date in the past until we saw Abdul Mutallab on Christmas day on Flight 253 going into Detroit,” Kelly said.
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For now, the NYPD will continue monitoring and keeping a watchful eye on New Yorkers this holiday season.
The admission that counter terrorism cops are on the alert comes after incoming House Homeland Security Chairman Peter King told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer this week federal intelligence experts have picked up chatter from several sources that al Qaeda or groups associated with al Qaeda would like to strike some place in the United States during the holidays.
“As I say we’re on alert we’re watching indicators that we normally watch. We’re watching them closely, but there’s no indication of a specific threat to this city at this time,” Kelly said.
Kramer: “Are you doing anything special?”
Kramer: “Can you tell us?”
As Kelly noted, terrorists now like to strike at this time of the year. There was last year’s attempt by Abdulmutallab to ignire an underwear bomb on a Northwest Airlines flight. Previously, shoe bomber Richard Reid was taken off a Paris-to-Miami flight after he tried to ignite a shoe bomb back in 2001.
The combination of the recent intelligence and the fact that the terrorists seem to favor attacks at this time of year are apparently what led the city to ramp up security.
“New York is the communications capital. It’s the financial capital. We’ve been attacked twice successfully and [there have been] 11 plots against the city since 2001, so obviously we have to be on our guard and we are,” Kelly said.
The NYPD alert will go at least through New Year’s. Counter terrorism cops will guard sensitive locations and over 1,000 recent graduates of the Police Academy will be on guard in Times Square as the ball drops.