Officials Tracking ‘Credible’ Terror Threat in New York City, D.C.

| September 9, 2011 11:06 AM

An NYPD officer stands guard beneath the ticker in Times Square on Friday morning. As the ticker explains, counter-terrorism officials are investigating reports that Al Qaeda members were planning to attack New York and D.C. on Sunday. AP/Mary Altaffer.

The NYPD is increasing security measures, as counter-terrorism officials investigate a significant, yet unconfirmed plan by Al Qaeda members to attack New York City and Washington D.C. on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Early Friday morning, the Daily News reported that a current counter-terrorism probe is centered around three Al Qaeda members who may be planning to use car bombs to attack transit hubs, bridges and tunnels — a mission possibly linked to Osama Bin Laden’s successor Ayman Al-Zawahiri. The somewhat-vague details about the  investigation are the latest news on a threat that was first reported on Thursday.

On Thursday morning, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters that there was “a lot of chatter” around the anniversary, but that the threat wasn’t specific, reported CBS News.

But Thursday night, more information was leaked and a member of President Barack Obama’s administration told CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr that counter-terrorism officials at the federal and state level are investigating a credible, yet unconfirmed terrorist threat planned for the 10th anniversary, reported Christian Science Monitor.

Later Thursday evening, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave a press conference with NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

“The best thing that we can do to fight terror is to refuse to be intimidated by it,” said Bloomberg, who urged New Yorkers not to panic and to go about their daily lives, but to remain alert and report any suspicious activity to 311 as the anniversary draws near.

While government officials haven’t revealed further details, Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told CNN, ”There were very, very specific facts that were made known in this threat,” but added, “We don’t know if this threat is real yet. It’s being tracked down.”

Throughout the weekend, NYPD officers will be particularly on guard, and New Yorkers can expect illegally parked cars to be towed immediately, and increased bag-checks at public transportation checkpoints, reported the Daily News.

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