New York Oggi

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Posted: August 11, 2007

In a show of force, the NYPD mobilized hundreds of anti-terrorism cops last night after an Internet report of a "dirty bomb" threat targeting the city surfaced, authorities said.

An Israeli-based Web site claimed al Qaeda communications accuse the United States of failing to take seriously the video taped message last Sunday of an American member of the terror group, who vowed to attack the "spy dens" of U.S. and allied embassies throughout the Islamic world, police said.

DEBKA file - which attempts to report on the actions and chatter among al Qaeda cells - posted the story yesterday on its Web site, claiming that New York would be attacked in the coming days "by means of trucks loaded with radioactive material against America's biggest city and financial nerve center."

The threats were allegedly found in an exchange of messages over the terror group's internal Internet sites.

Taking precautions against the threats, officers were mobilized and check points set up throughout the city - at the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and various locations in lower Manhattan, including the Financial District - to conduct searches and monitor suspicious activity.

"While the threat remains unverified, our counter-terrorism posture has been modified to include increased deployment of radiological sensors," said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.

Browne stressed that the mobilizations were not a result of verified threats, and were strictly a precautionary matter.

The threats were made this week after a videotape released last Sunday by the American al Qaeda spokesman, Adam Gadahn, was not taken seriously enough by government officials.

In the tape, Gadahn - also known as "Azzam the American" - made threats that U.S. embassies would be attacked.

"We shall continue to target you at home and abroad, just as you target us at home and abroad," said Gadahn on the tape, "and these spy dens, and military command and control centers from which you plotted your aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq shall continue to be legitimate targets."

Despite the threats, the terror level in New York remained at orange for elevated risk.

"The threat level has not changed because of this unverified threat, and we shouldn't let anyone terrorize us by spreading fear," said Mayor Bloomberg.

"We've assessed that this threat is unsubstantiated. There's no information that leads us to believe that there's an imminent threat," added Homeland Security spokesman Russ Knocke. "We recognize that the NYPD has responsibility to protect their local communities and we are supporting them in their efforts."

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