Security increased for Thanksgiving Day Parade amid turmoil in Middle East

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Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Authorities ramp up security ahead of Thanksgiving Day Parade
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N.J. Burkett has the latest details as the city prepares for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- While there are no specific threats to the 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, the Israel-Hamas war "has created a heightened threat environment" that makes the parade an "attractive target," a new threat assessment from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other agencies said.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul discussed state security across New York on Tuesday morning amid the war and the latest threat assessment.

"We'd be naive to think the war in the Middle East does not have the possibility to bleed over into other states, particularly New York, we have been targeted in the past, yet we are very prepared," Hochul said.

The assessment, obtained by ABC News, expressed concern about "lone actors 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."

The assessment also noted calls by al-Qaeda for followers to attack American, British and French nationals as well as Jewish people everywhere using "public events and large gatherings" as a backdrop.

"Tensions related to the ongoing Israel-HAMAS conflict, coupled with the widespread sharing of graphic and disturbing content related to this conflict, increase the prospects for violence in the United States with little to no warning," the assessment said.

The 97th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade steps off from the Upper West Side of Manhattan and processes along a two and a half mile route to Herald Square. An estimated 3.5 million people will view the parade in person.

"Though the 2023 New York City Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade event will provide a broad set of potential soft targets for an attack, congested areas where the largest amount of people gather-particularly designated viewing areas-are likely the most vulnerable spots for a mass casualty attack," the assessment said. "Nearby publicly accessible areas, mass-transit hubs, pre-event gatherings, and post-event celebrations may also be viewed as potential targets due to the ability to inflict significant casualties at such locations."

Hochul is focusing state law enforcement on monitoring social media for threats.

An analysis by the New York State Intelligence Center showed correlation between events overseas and increased threats to New York City.

"Are we living in a heightened threat environment, absolutely, are we seeing an increase in calls for violence, absolutely, those calls are coming from outside of the country and inside of the country, but there are no credible threats to the parade or to New York at this time," Jackie Bray, Commissioner of the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services, said.

Bray said their main message is to continue to be vigilant.

"I will be out celebrating Thanksgiving, the governor will be out celebrating Thanksgiving, New Yorkers should feel safe to go about their holiday an enjoy their family," Bray said.

The NYPD released the following statement:

"The men and women of the NYPD are looking forward to hosting the millions of spectators who will attend this week's Thanksgiving-related festivities. And while there are currently no credible or specific threats to any individual event or to New York City in general, the police department will continue partnering with our state and federal colleagues to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday season for all the people we serve."

The city is using the same kind of coordination that helped secure this year's Halloween Parade and the New York City Marathon, both of which went off without a hitch.

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