US on alert for terror strikes around elections, DEBKAfile, November 4, 2016
Following threats from Al Qaeda and ISIS, US security authorities have warned officials in New York, Texas and Virginia about possible attacks by al Qaeda or ISIS in the run-up to Election Day on Nov. 8. No specific locations were mentioned. However, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates airports, tunnels and bridges around New York City said they will continue with “high level of patrols” in the four days leading up to and after Tuesday’s vote. “The FBI, working with our federal, state and local counterparts, shares and assesses intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety” the Bureau said Friday.
The terror alert came a day after DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources reported that Islamists may be planning terrorist attacks to occur around the time of the presidential election. After checking out the information, the FBI and Homeland Security Department decided to alert the public to a possible Al Qaeda/ISIS terrorist threat.
DEBKAfile reported Thursday, Nov. 3:
As Iraqi troops entered Mosul, Wednesday night, Nov. 2, Islamic State’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi called on his suicide bombers all over the world “to destroy the cities of the unbelievers.”
In a rare, audio-taped speech from an unknown location, he rallied jihadists from across the world to rise up against “God’s enemies from the Jews, Christians, atheists, Shiites, apostates and all of the world’s infidels.”
This was interpreted as a coded signal to the Islamist State’s dormant cells in key Western and Middle Eastern cities to go into action for a new, multiple outburst of suicide terror.
In an apparent response to military pressure, Al Baghdadi followed his rallying to ISIS-affiliated fighters across the globe by urging ISIS members to defend Mosul since “holding our ground in honor is a thousand times better than retreating…”
International intelligence and counterterrorism agencies in the US, Western Europe and the Middle East had widely expected Al-Baghdadi’s call for widespread terror to come at the outset of the US-led coalition offensive on Oct. 15 to retake Mosul. When it was not forthcoming, they speculated that the “caliph” was either unwilling or unable to issue the call for action in the early stages of the battle.
According to one conjecture, the advance of the Iraqi army and allies into Mosul Wednesday may have been the trigger for the ISIS leaders first taped speech since December 2015.
So too might the proximity of the US presidential election next Tuesday with the intention of causing maximum disruption on America’s voting day.
The possible response to the ISIS leaders rallying call is seen as cause for alarm, according to DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism sources. It is feared that the Mosul operation against ISIS will spawn new and more devastating forms of terror, such as, for instance, mass-hostage taking in order to extort the coalition forces’ withdrawal from Mosul.
So far, ISIS has not managed to unleash terrorist attacks in response to the Mosul operation in America or against US targets in the Middle East and Europe. The Islamist terror attacks on Sept. 18 and 19 in New Jersey and Manhattan that were perpetrated by Ahmad Khan Rahami were instigated by Al Qaeda, not ISIS. Our sources foresee that al-Baghdadi, under pressure to show his jihadists are still active terror players, may pull off a dramatic strike at a prominent American location – possibly even on election-day.
His explicit call for terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia and Turkey show his sights have not been removed from the Middle East either.