NEW YORK (AP) — Police stepped up security in Times Square on Wednesday amid concerns that the mounting hostilities between the United States and the Islamic State group could have repercussions on U.S. soil.
New York Police Department officials asserted that there's no credible information pointing to any terror plot against New York City. Nevertheless, they said residents and visitors will see more patrols and other signs of heightened security in Times Square, the subways and elsewhere during the upcoming Jewish holidays and for the arrival of international dignitaries at the United Nations General Assembly.
The extra security "is something we'd normally do at this time of year anyway," Commissioner William Bratton said following a security briefing with Jewish leaders.
Bratton added: "There is no direct actionable intelligence in our possession that indicates an attack in the Times Square area or anywhere else in the city for that matter."
The NYPD's top counterterrorism official, John Miller, said authorities hadn't authenticated a recent Internet posting — purportedly authored by the Islamic State group — that urged "lone wolf" terrorists to build attack Times Square and other tourist spots. He said Times Square is a constant concern, citing the failed 2010 bombing attempt and reports that the Boston Marathon bombers considered making it a target.
"It's high-profile. It's symbolic," Miller said. "Notwithstanding this particular information which were still assessing, we always maintain a high police visibility and presence in Times Square."
Law enforcement officials have been trying to identify U.S. and European citizens who have joined the fight on the side of the Islamic State, fearing the recruits could be used for attacks on Western targets. Authorities also say the group has shown a determination to promote its brutal brand of jihad through an Internet marketing campaign that could incite homegrown terror.