International terror groups are warning of several impending attacks surrounding national holidays and events, from New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to Washington, D.C.’s Inauguration Day. The FBI is warning police departments across the nation of the uptick in terror threats, telling them to prepare for a multitude of attacks, from drones carrying explosives to bombings in crowded areas.
The latest issue of Al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine warned of imminent threats to the United States during the holiday season, including drones carrying IEDs, lone gunman attacks and explosives in “target rich” zones in Washington, D.C., and neighboring regions, including northern Virginia. This week, the Islamic State released its own magazine edition, Rumiyah, purporting potential terror and pointing to the Macy’s Day Parade as an "excellent target." The FBI is also warning of threats targeting Inauguration Day as President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office on Jan. 20.
An uptick in terror threats often occurs during the holiday season, with roughly 100 million U.S. travelers taking to the air and roads. While the Macy’s Day Parade prepares for one of the most crowded events in history, hotels and travel services throughout Washington, D.C., are reporting extreme surges in bookings and reservations for the highly anticipated inaugural event. Both events and their possible record-high turnouts pose unprecedented challenges for police departments across the country.
In a section of its latest issue of Rumiyah entitled "Just Terror Tactics," the Islamic State pointed to the attacks in Nice, France, on July 16 as a prime example of what could happen to New York City during its annual Thanksgiving parade. The attacks killed 86 and injured 434 after a 19-ton truck plowed through crowds celebrating the country’s Bastille Day festivities.
The New York Police Department reassured those planning to attend the upcoming holiday at the parade will be protected from any international terror threats and should continue with any scheduled plans. John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, told "CBS This Morning" on Monday that the parade will be lined with “blocker cars at every intersection of that route” to prevent any similar tragedies to the Nice attacks.
The city’s counterterrorism strategies recently instructed 135 of the 200 facilities renting trucks in the metro area on how to identify and report suspicious behavior.
"Macy's works closely with the NYPD and federal law enforcement agencies each year to put in place comprehensive security plans for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," Macy's said in a statement last week. "Our interagency partners lead security efforts along all areas of the Parade route and we are in constant communication with these agencies as they actively monitor and evaluate parade security. "
Last year’s Macy’s Day Parade attracted 3.5 million spectators, while the last Inauguration Day event brought at least 1 million visitors to the nation’s capital.