After two recent terrorism incidents against Jewish targets overseas, the New York City police department says it is approaching the Passover holiday this year with heightened awareness.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says there have been no specific threats to the city at this time, but the police will be deploying additional resources to precincts with large Jewish communities.
For Passover, Kelly said the NYPD will be beefing up foot patrols, visits by officers to synagogues, outreach by community affairs officers, anti-crime units to deter thefts and patrols by special house-of-worship cars. The department also said that some locations may get unannounced visits from NYPD Hercules teams, which are specially trained officers trained to disrupt terrorist activity.
"Unfortunately, lone wolves are extremely difficult to detect. That's why it's essential that the police department continue to invest resources in gathering intelligence, which is the only effective way to stop this kind of plot," Kelly said.
On March 15, investigators uncovered a plan to attack a synagogue in Milan, Italy. At the suspect’s home, authorities found detailed descriptions on how to make a car bomb, the chemicals required and two Nazi flags.
A few days later, a gunman opened fire at a Jewish school in Toulouse, France. The shooting killed a rabbi, his two young sons and a young girl. The suspect claimed he was trained by al-Qaida.
Meanwhile, a graphic featuring a New York City skyline popped up on terrorism recruitment websites this week. The picture states in bold letters that "Al Qaeda coming soon again in New York." Kelly, who was alerted of the graphic Monday, said the department is not treating it as a credible threat, but the police and federal authorities are continuing to investigate it.
He said he is not intensifying Passover security as a result of the graphic.