The FBI says that the Israel-Hamas war has “created a heightened threat environment” for domestic terrorist attacks in multiple U.S. cities, and San Francisco is listed as one of those cities that is an “attractive target.”
What with the big New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square coming up Sunday night, the eyes of the world will be on Times Square. And that’s a risk, as far as the FBI and the US Department of Homeland Security are concerned, as CNN reports those two agencies have issued a threat assessment to New York City and a few other cities that their public New Year’s Eve celebrations could attract a domestic terror attack. The concern is that tension over the Israel-Hamas conflict “has created a heightened threat environment,” though they're more worried about lone wolf actors, not any organized terrorist group.
CNN obtained a copy of the threat assessment, which says that the “Intelligence Community remains concerned about lone offenders using online platforms to express threats of violence against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities, as well as committing simple, unsophisticated attacks that are difficult to detect in advance.”
But KGO has the somewhat alarming news that San Francisco is one of the cities that is considered an “attractive target” for these lone-wolf terror attacks. (The only other cities named in media reports are New York City and Las Vegas.) San Francisco is considered a target because of its big public fireworks display, with "large unprotected coastline and fireworks barges that could be targets."
"The assessment is meant for situational awareness," Assistant Police Chief David Lazar explained to KGO. "We need to be aware that there are threats out there, there are people that are out there to do harm, we've seen that over a long period of time, but for San Francisco there is nothing credible... there's nothing specific."
And the FBI/DHS threat assessment also notes a concern about attackers using drones. Meaning that law enforcement is going to be particularly suspicious of any drones flying on New Year’s Eve.
"We do not recommend anyone bring out a drone," Lazar told KGO. "It just adds a layer of complication, it's a Homeland Security issue."
We should reiterate that there is no specific threat, just a heightened alert level, and SF’s New Year’s Eve fireworks show is still scheduled to go on as planned near midnight Sunday night.
Image: Cedric Letsch via Unsplash