There isn’t yet a specific threat to worry about, but officials in New York City, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, aren’t taking any chances.
On Friday, the day after an assassination attack was conducted on an Iranian high-level military official named Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iraq, de Blasio announced that he and the city’s police department recognized the potential threat that President Donald Trump’s ordered strike posed for Americans.
“We’re in, at this point, a de facto state of war between the United States of America and Iran,” de Blasio said in a statement, per reporting from Fox 5 DC.
Because of the heightened tensions between the two nations, the mayor ordered NYPD to step up protection at a number of key locations across the city. He also warned in a tweet that New Yorkers will “have to be vigilant against this threat for a long time to come.”
Have spoken with Commissioner Shea + Dep Commissioner Miller about immediate steps NYPD will take to protect key NYC locations from any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against America. We will have to be vigilant against this threat for a long time to come.
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) January 3, 2020
While no specific threat has been made against the city or any other locations across the continental United States, the Iranian regime, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, vowed that the U.S. would face “severe revenge” in response to Soleimani’s death this week, The Guardian reported.
The incoming commander of the Quds Force, which Soleimani had led prior to his death, also promised retribution of a violent nature, though again it was directed more toward American servicemembers in the Middle East rather than toward Americans living in the United States proper.
“We tell everyone, be patient and see the dead bodies of Americans all over the Middle East,” Esmail Ghaani said in a statement.
Still, in spite of the general (rather than specific) threats being made, New York is on guard, for good reason. The city was the epicenter of the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, when terrorists from the al Qaeda network hijacked airplanes and crashed them into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center. Nearly 3,000 New Yorkers died that day as a result of the attacks.
9/11 also saw attacks occur at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a downed aircraft in Pennsylvania, which failed to reach its final destination.
Qasem Soleimani was considered by many experts to be one of the most important figures in Iran. He masterminded many of the covert operations across the Middle East on behalf of the nation
Soleimani was targeted after escalating events in Iraq, when an Iran-backed militia group purportedly killed a U.S. military contractor with a missile attack last month, the BBC reported. The U.S. responded with an airstrike of its own, which resulted in protests at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. It’s believed that those protests were provoked in part by pro-Iranian agents.
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