The Islamic State sent out a chilling photo this week showing that it is closer than we had imagined. And New York City police are taking the threat seriously.
Alleged ISIS operatives posed for selfies in the streets of the city while showing off ISIS logos near some of New York’s most storied landmarks and the message seemed to be simple. They are in our midsts and are prepared to strike.
One of the photos was taken in the shadow of the World Trade Center, the site of the most devastating terrorist attack in American history. In it, the alleged ISIS soldier held a phone bearing the image of the ISIS flag blocks from the rebuilt World Trade Center, which could be seen in the distance.
In another, an operative wore an ISIS logo emblazoned scarf as he posed in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as unsuspecting pedestrians walked by.
Now police are on the hunt to find the man, or men, in the photos.
“The NYPD is aware of the photographs. As with all terror related threats, the NYPD is looking into the incident. At this time there are no credible threats related to New York City,” a spokesman for the New York City Police Department said in a statement.
The terrifying photos came after the terrorist group’s supporters released a new poster encouraging operatives to unleash knife attacks in churches.
The poster showed an ISIS fighter holding a bloody knife with the caption “It’s cheaper than a chainsaw,” The Sun reported.
The terror group has warned the US that fighters are ready to strike in the country – with the iconic building a potential target.
The photograph – taken on a deserted street in Manhattan – was released after a video of a US child threatening Donald Trump was posted.
In the sick film the child, whose father is said to have fought in Iraq, tells the US President the battle will ‘end in your lands’.
The boy also calls Mr Trump a ‘puppet of the Jews’ in the clip, said to have been filmed in Raqqa, Syria.
The photos also came weeks after an ISIS supporter tried to commit a suicide bombing during rush hour at the New York City Port Authority Bus Terminal, the New York Post reported.
Akayed Ullah, 27, who is from Bangladesh and was living in Brooklyn, told authorities he was trying to exact vengeance for decades of violence against Muslims in Gaza, Syria and Iraq, saying in sum and substance from his hospital bed: “They’ve been bombing [my people] and I wanted to do damage here,” sources said.
He told cops he was inspired by ISIS, but police don’t believe he had any direct contact with the group, sources said.
Ullah, who officials say is a former city cab driver whose license has lapsed, set off a “low-tech” homemade pipe bomb strapped to his midsection around 7:20 a.m. inside the subway passageway between West 42nd Street and Eighth Avenue and West 42nd Street and Seventh Avenue.
“This is New York,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at the time. “The reality is that we are a target by many who would like to make a statement against democracy, against freedom. We have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor and that makes us an international target.”
Gov. Cuomo’s words continue to ring true with this new threat. Whether or not anything comes of the threat, ISIS has made its intentions known, and it would be wise to take it seriously.