Sunday 24 September 2017

New York beefs up security ahead of July Fourth celebrations

Almost all of the State's counter-terrorism units have been deployed
Almost all of the State's counter-terrorism units have been deployed

Karen Brooks

New York has heightened security ahead of the July fourth holiday weekend in response to a call for vigilance by the US government.

"We are keenly aware that New York State remains a top target for terrorists," Governor Andrew Cuomo said following an alert by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI.

American authorities called for states and local police to remain vigilant for possible threats following last week's terror attacks in Tunisia and Kuwait, and calls for violence on July 4th by Islamic State militants.

In New York City, the nation's largest municipal police force assigned about 7,000 officers and nearly all its counter-terrorism personnel to handle security around Independence Day events.

Mr Cuomo expanded the stepped-up security measures to include the entire state in a directive to the New York Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

"In response to the warning by the federal government, New York State is taking steps to increase monitoring and communication with our local, state, and federal emergency management and law enforcement partners through the holiday weekend," he said.

The state's homeland security department also will increase the staff on Saturday at its 24-hour Emergency Operations Center and the New York State Watch Center, which monitors events across the state.

Last week, the attacks in Tunisia and Kuwait prompted US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to issue a statement calling for increased vigilance over the patriotic holiday in the United States.

In Washington, nine security checkpoints will be set up to screen the tens of thousands of visitors expected for fireworks and festivities on the National Mall.

"Coolers, backpacks and packages are subject to inspection, and about 18,000 feet of chain link fencing will be installed," the National Park Service said.

The US capital was jolted on Thursday by the false report of a gunman at the Navy Yard military base that triggered a massive security response.


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