NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly presided Tuesday over the New York City Police Department’s pre-Passover briefing, an annual conference at which religious and community leaders are provided information on the current threat environment and implications for New York City during the upcoming religious holiday. Rabbi Dr. Alvin Kass, chief chaplain of the NYPD, opened the program and was recognized for celebrating 50 years of service this month. Rabbi Kass is the longest-serving chaplain in the history of the Police Department.
NYPD Director of Intelligence Analysis Mitchell Silber said detectives were looking into the origins of an Internet posting discovered Monday, in which a composite image of New York City’s skyline, landmarks and One Police Plaza – NYPD headquarters – served as background for the message, “Al Qaeda Coming Soon Again in New York,” a post NYPD cyber intelligence specialists are analyzing, although no connection to an operational plot has been established.
He also reviewed recent New York-based plots by Al Qaeda-inspired and self-radicalized individuals, such as the May 2011 plot by Ahmed Ferhani and Mohamed Mamdouh to detonate bombs at Manhattan synagogues and the case of Jose Pimentel, AKA Muhammad Yusuf, who was arrested last November as he constructed bombs that he intended to use against post offices and police cars in New York. Silber also discussed the roles of Hezbollah and Iran in attacks on Israeli targets overseas and provided information about a plot last month targeting synagogues in Milan, and the recent attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France in which four were killed.
After the shootings in Toulouse, the Police Department increased security outside houses of worship and other Jewish sites in New York City. Commissioner Kelly said that the Department sent its intelligence liaison in Paris to Toulouse, to gather first-hand information about the attack.
“Among other things, he’s learned that the shooter, Mohamed Merah, initially intended to strike a different target, but had considered the school as a target and conducted surveillance there,” Commissioner Kelly said. “While we know of no similar threat to the City at this time, such attacks are certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
“Lone wolves are extremely difficult to detect. That’s why it is essential that the Police Department continue to invest resources in gathering intelligence, which is the only effective way to stop this kind of plot.”
The NYPD will deploy additional resources including “Hercules” patrols by heavily armed officers to synagogues, Jewish neighborhoods and other potentially sensitive locations during the religious holiday. It similarly increases security around mosques and in Muslim communities during Ramadan each year.
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(YWN Desk – NYC)