In light of the Israel-Hamas conflict and President Biden’s trip to the Middle East, Al-Qaeda affiliates and Hezbollah are calling on their supporters to target U.S. and Israeli interests, as reported in an intelligence bulletin reviewed by CBS News.
Though there’s no specific or credible threat at this time, the “situational awareness alert” from the New York Counterterrorism Bureau emphasizes the increased threat level. The bulletin highlighted that Al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS) has urged its followers to attack American, British, and French nationals and their interests due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Hezbollah, on the other hand, has declared a “day of unprecedented anger” against both Israel and the U.S. during President Biden’s visit to Israel last Wednesday.
Additionally, the bulletin touched upon the recent explosion at Al-Ahli Al-Mamdani Hospital in Gaza City, predicting that the incident would be utilized to incite violence. Although Palestinians and Israelis have pointed fingers at each other for the explosion, which Palestinian officials claim resulted in hundreds of deaths, President Biden stated on Wednesday that the Defense Department’s data indicates that Israel wasn’t responsible. Regardless of who was actually at fault, the assessment predicts that extremist groups will use this tragedy in their online propaganda to rally supporters for retaliation and violence.
The assessment foresees that the blast will “likely keep causing public outrage and organized responses, calling for increased situational awareness around Israeli government spots/interests” in New York.
On Tuesday, the NYPD told all its officers to be in full uniform until further notice, putting all departmental training on hold for now.
In a statement on Wednesday, the NYPD said there are “no specific, credible threats to New York City,” but also mentioned “tensions have risen since the attack on Israel on October 7.”
“The NYPD is doing everything we can do to forestall future violence in our city. However, we know the ongoing events overseas may resonate with individuals domestically and that is hard to anticipate,” the statement read.
CBS News got a look at a State Department diplomatic security cable sent out on Wednesday, which told all diplomatic posts to get their emergency action committees, or EACs, together.
Standing up the EAC is no small feat. It plays a crucial role in handling crises at diplomatic posts, highlighting the increasingly risky security landscape both here and at U.S. operations abroad.
The alert advised regional security officers and EAC staff to pinpoint vulnerable spots and check in on security measures from host nations.
The cable asked all committees to make sure these reviews were done and dusted.