A recent post to a blog, believed to be managed by the Islamic State, has police in New York City on alert. City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Tuesday that the group, sometimes referred to by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, has mastered using social media as a way to urge terrorists around the world to carry out acts of violence.
“This is the evolving world of terrorism,” Bratton said according to the New York Daily News. “We are staying ahead of it. We are focusing on it, and I believe that we are as prepared as any entity could be to deal with the threats. But the reality is that we are living in a new era of potential terrorism.”
The blog post urged a so-called lone wolf terrorist to detonate a bomb in Times Square. Also posted were instructions on “how to prepare a bomb in the kitchen.”
“Times Square is considered one of the most important and famous tourist attractions in the city,” the post read.
Bratton predicted not long ago that such a threat may be coming. He told CBS News last week, on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that rocked his city, that the Islamic State was more likely to strike with small attacks rather than the large-scale attack that brought down the World Trade Center towers.
“Al-Qaeda was always looking for the big events … ISIS would be much more into the inspiration of the lone wolf. ISIS would be much more into the solo actor,” he said. “They're very sophisticated in their capabilities through their videos, through their social media, through their magazines. They're a very sophisticated operation seeking to recruit, more so even than al-Qaeda was over the years.”
New York Police Department spokesman Stephen Davis reiterated that his department was aware of the recent blog post and had “taken it into consideration in terms of our overall security posture.”
“We do not consider it to be an overt and direct threat,” he said.
That may be little comfort to someone like Ali Miass who works in Times Square everyday.
Miass is a street vendor who, four years ago, flagged down a police officer when a car, parked near him in Times Square, began smoking. Police eventually cleared the area and a bomb squad detonated an explosive device before it harmed anyone. Investigators later linked the bomb to a U.S. citizen with alleged ties to the Taliban.
The new threat is just a reminder of what Miass already knows.
“So now we're going to have to watch,” he told WABC. “Going to have to watch.”