NYPD increasing security for Thanksgiving parade amid bridge explosion, Israel-Hamas war

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Wednesday, November 22, 2023
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Police say heightened tensions surrounding the war in the Middle East and a car explosion along the U.S.-Canada border is causing the city to step up security ahead of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The NYPD said it and other law enforcement agencies responsible for New York City bridges and tunnels will make sure there is a "robust" law enforcement presence on the city's highways and entry points, out of an abundance of caution.

There will also be additional visibility on bridges from the air, police said.

New York City was already on high alert, but the violent and deadly incident on the U.S. side of the Rainbow Bridge, which connects the U.S. to Canada at Niagara Falls, New York, sent law enforcement agencies into a frenzy Wednesday afternoon.

A vehicle sped toward a border checkpoint at the U.S. side of the bridge, hit a booth, exploded and went airborne, New York Governor Kathy Hochul said.

All the flaming and mangled debris landed right by Customs and Border Protection security booths on the border.

An agent working there was treated for minor injuries and released, but both people in the car died in the fire.

The images from surveillance video were chilling, but authorities say they are confident that it was not an act of terrorism or sabotage.

Hochul also told reporters at a news conference that there was no indication any explosives were found at the scene.

At a briefing on security preparations for the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, Mayor Eric Adams and police officials said the incident changes nothing about the already high security for the big parade.

N.J. Burkett has the latest on the crash the NYPD's response.

"We're going to continue to be out in full force," Adams said. "Chief Maddrey and his team will make sure we have the right manpower that's here, and we're going to continue to monitor all the chatter that's taking place to ensure that people can enjoy the holiday."

RELATED: More to know about the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

There continues to be no specific or credible threats to Thursday's parade, although an NYPD threat assessment notes we "continue to face a heightened and dynamic risk environment from a variety of extremists amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, and malicious actors may view mass gatherings, iconic locations, and high-profile events, including parades, as targets of opportunity."

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.

RELATED: Street closures due to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

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