The escalation of violence in Gaza raises the threat of a possible attack on New York
Escalation of violence in Gaza raises threat of possible attack on New York 02:36
NEW YORK – CBS News learned Monday of increased threats of a possible terrorist attack in New York City as a direct result of growing violence in the Middle East.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is already taking steps to beef up security and increase Joint Terrorism Task Force staffing following a new threat assessment by the New York State Intelligence Center that says violence in Gaza is making headlines of goals in New York.
“I’m working hard at the state level with the control that I have. I’ll talk about this tomorrow, exactly what we’re doing and how many online threats we’ve discovered, how many have been investigated, what the outcome is,” Hochul said.
The governor spoke about new steps she will take to address online threats and radicalization, even as CBS News obtained a new threat assessment that indicates “a growing terrorist threat to New York State.”
The intelligence center warned that the spread of anti-Semitic and anti-Palestinian rhetoric on social media is fueling a rise in hate crimes against Jews, Muslims and Arabs.
“The expansion of Israeli operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the increase in civilian casualties increase the likelihood that perpetrators of the violent extremist threat will seek to conduct attacks against targets in the West, with New York State at the center. Terrorist messages placed an emphasis on attacking “easy targets” such as protests, group rallies and other public events,” the report said.
Last week, Hochul allocated $2.5 million to add more State Police investigators to the FBI’s joint terrorism task force in New York City, Albany, Buffalo and Rochester.
“We are working with all law enforcement agencies, federal, state and local, across the state. These are not just New York City events,” Hochul said.
“Our most immediate concern is that violent extremists, whether individuals or small groups, will draw inspiration from events in the Middle East to carry out attacks against Americans in their daily lives,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. “This includes not only local violent extremists, inspired by a foreign terrorist organization, but also domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish or Muslim communities. We have already seen this with the individual we arrested last week in Houston.”
The number of bias incidents investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force increased 124% in October, led by a 214% spike in anti-Jewish incidents.