NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence & Counterterrorism is sounding off about his concerns over the deadly Sri Lanka attacks.
“What we heard, we didn’t like. Which was a complex, multi-location attack that was very well organized. And then making sure we put the pieces into place here against any similar targets,” Miller said.
“I think when you look at this and you see seven or eight locations off the bat in near simultaneous staggers with then other later ones and then raids on places where suspects set off bombs, what you’re looking at is the kind of operation that would take a great deal of organization, a good deal of funding, and more importantly a fairly large number of people for your average terrorist plot, which increases operational security,” he continued. “How did they run this for so long with so much planning and so many wheels turning without it being found?”
Miller said the Sri Lankan government put out a notice of a threat it received 10 days ago. He said the level of coordination of the attack prompts three questions.
“Number one, is this the resurgence of Al Qaeda, which has been expanding its network to pick up these affiliates? Because it is certainly more their style. Number two: Is this an ISIS-influenced group? When ISIS has gone from being a caliphate, gone from being an infantry, and now remains solely as a terrorist group. And number three: Is this a local group that has grown in sophistication and complexity,” Miller said.
Miller called it “an attack directed at Christians specifically with a tinge of economic targets.” He said intelligence agencies have been “waiting for that shoe to drop” since the deadly mosque attack in New Zealand. He also said following that attack, the leaders of Al Qaeda and ISIS put out a call for a revenge attack.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered state police to increase patrols at churches and houses of worship after the attacks.
“New York grieves for the victims of the horrific attacks at churches and hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the people of Sri Lanka, to the families who lost loved ones and to all those grieving around the world,” Cuomo said. “In the wake of these despicable acts of violence and out of an abundance of caution, I am directing State Police to increase patrols around churches and houses of worship across the state today. During these troubling times, we will not be intimidated by cowardly acts of violence and will continue to do everything in our power to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”
A memorial service for the victims will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at St. Adalbert Church on Staten Island. Another vigil is planned for 6:30 p.m. at Masjid-e-Ali Mosque in Somerset, New Jersey.