NYPD Beefing Up Security at Churches for Christmas After SF Terror Attack Is Thwarted

A member of the New York Police Department stands watch outside Saks Fifth Avenue on Christmas Eve in Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
A member of the New York Police Department stands watch outside Saks Fifth Avenue on Christmas Eve in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. | (Photo: Reuters)

New York City police have boosted security at area churches for the holiday weekend after a California man was arrested for allegedly planning to bomb a busy San Francisco tourist destination in the name of Islamic State.

Trucks will not be allowed in parts of Midtown and on both Fifth and Madison Avenues, and there will be security at churches, particularly St. Patrick's Cathedral, ABC7 reports, saying new radiation detection devices and even explosive detection K-9 teams will be used for the precautionary measure.

"Given the recent events. we believe it is prudent to increase security at the major crossings and the major transportation hubs," Governor Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying.

The Port Authority Police will also increase security at JFK and LaGuardia airports.

On Friday, a man identified as 26-year-old Everitt Aaron Jameson, a discharged Marine and tow truck driver who lives in Modesto, was arrested and charged with supporting a terror group, according to NBC.

Jameson was discharged from the U.S. Marines for fraudulent enlistment, according to CBS News.

"Jameson specifically named Pier 39 in San Francisco as a target location because he had been there before and knew that it was a heavily crowded area, and that, according to Jameson, no reconnaissance or site survey would be necessary (because Jameson already was familiar with the area). Jameson explained that he also desired to use explosives," prosecutors wrote in the complaint. "Jameson said he did not have and did not need an escape plan because he was ready to die."

Authorities found a handwritten note in the suspect's home.

"You all have brought this upon yourselves," the note said. "You've allowed Donald J. Trump to give away [Jerusalem] to the Jews. Both you and he are wrong, it belongs to the [Muslims]."

Last week, Islamic State supporters threatened to launch a terror attack in Washington, D.C. and New York on Christmas, according to the SITE intelligence group, which found a poster circulating through a pro-Islamic State encrypted channel, Telegram.

The propaganda poster carried a picture showing Washington's National Cathedral erupting in flames while indicating that New York could be their target.

"We meet at Christmas in New York soon," read the caption of the poster, which otherwise carried an image of Washington's National Cathedral, revealed SITE, which monitors extremist communications online.

Islamic State, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, managed to encourage over 40,000 fighters from more than 110 countries to travel to join their fight before and after the declaration of the "caliphate" in June 2014, according to a report, "Beyond the Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees."

The report, recently released by the Washington-based security intelligence consultancy Soufan Center, states that there are now at least 5,600 citizens or residents from 33 countries who have returned home — accounting for about 15 percent of the fighters.

The report claims that for the U.S., 129 fighters succeeded in leaving the country and only seven have returned.

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