It’s as much a staple of the Thanksgiving holiday as football, pumpkin pie, or turkey itself – but now it’s coming under threat from ISIS terrorists.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is what many Americans start their holiday off with – a three hour televised event with giant balloons, live Broadway and musical performances, and a visit from Santa Claus, all parading through the streets of New York City.
The New York Police Department will be keeping an extra close eye on proceedings this year, after ISIS declared the parade to be an “excellent target” for an attack similar to the cargo truck attack in Nice, France, which killed 86 people.
Via the Washington Free Beacon:
The New York Police Department is heightening security for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after the Islamic State warned the event would make an “excellent target” for a Nice-style truck attack.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said Monday that police were prepared to line the parade route with hundreds of parked cars to serve as a barrier as they have done in previous years. The department has also visited 135 truck rental locations in the city to provide businesses with guidance on identifying suspicious behavior, the New York Post reported.
ISIS wrote in its English-language magazine Rumiyah this weekend that a lone-wolf attacker behind the wheel of a large truck could inflict mass casualties. The terrorist group singled out the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in Manhattan as an “excellent target”
The article goes on to describe the potential attacks in gruesome detail.
The Nice attack was carried out this past summer by Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who drove a cargo truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Angalis.
It should be noted that the attacker had listed an Islamic religious center in New York City as a place he visited on his Facebook profile.
UPDATE: Brooklyn Man Arrested in ISIS Terror Plot in NYC
Federal authorities charged a Brooklyn man on Monday with allegedly traveling to Turkey and Yemen last year to join the terror group ISIS with the goal of a vehicle-based attack in Times Square similar to the one carried out in Nice, France over the summer.
Mohamed Rafik Naji, 37, is accused of traveling to both countries from March to September 2015 in the hopes of joining ISIS, according to the federal complaint.
Naji was held without bond in federal court in Brooklyn on Monday. An attorney for Naji did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The arrest comes just over a week after ISIS encouraged vehicle-based attacks in their online magazine, Rumiyah. The magazine article called the Macy’s parade “an excellent target” and showed a photo of a U-Haul truck, calling it “an affordable weapon.”
Officials made the arrest three days before Thanksgiving in the midst of fears that there will be an ISIS inspired attack at the holiday parade.
The Thanksgiving Parade is not mentioned in Naji’s complaint, but the court papers note that “jihadist propaganda has long counseled followers to commit acts of violence like the one describe by Naji.”
Cross-posted at the Political Insider