The NYPD says it is stepping up security measures and soon will be adding hundreds of officers to its counter-terror unit in part due to the three major terror attacks in France, Kuwait and Tunisia.
NYPD officials said there is no specific threat to the city but the U.S.-owned gas company targeted in the French attack, Air Products, has facilities north of New York City as well as in New Jersey, though it’s based in Pennsylvania.
The plant in France was targeted by an Islamic extremist known to authorities dating to 2006, officials said. The suspect allegedly drove a truck into canisters at the plant, causing an explosion, then allegedly beheaded his boss and left the head impaled on a fence next to two ISIS flags, French authorities said.
The suspect is in custody and French security forces raided his family’s apartment near Lyon and took several relatives away for questioning.
“We are looking into all aspects of that case, what the motive was for that attack because it was an American company,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller.
In Kuwait, an ISIS cell claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque killing more than two dozen people and injuring over 200. And on a beach in Tunisia, an ISIS inspired gunman opened fire on European tourists, killing more than 35 people. German, French and English vacationers among the dead. The gunman was later killed.
ISIS leaders have called for attacks on “non-believers” during Ramadan, and France, Britain and Spain among the countries now boosting their security levels.
Former New Jersey FBI director Dave Velazquez said the threat from ISIS continues to grow.
“It may not have the sophistication that Al Qaeda reached during the 9/11 attacks,” he said. “But it is on its way to getting that capability if it is not countered.”
In the last week in the New York area, there were three ISIS-related raids in New York and New Jersey, with four arrests. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said he will soon be adding hundreds of new officers to counter-terror patrols.
“The threat of terrorism is expanding and the potential threats of terrorism are expaniding and continually need to be met by us,” Bratton said.
Officials said increased patrols will also be in place with the upcoming July 4th celebration approaching.
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