Security tightened for New Year's Eve celebrations after FBI warnings

Threats of violence are heightened because of the Israel-Hamas war, the bureau has warned

Katie Hawkinson
Sunday 31 December 2023 15:59

Confetti test held in Times Square ahead of New Year’s Eve

The Governor of New York has announced heightened public safety measures for New York City’s New Years Eve celebration.

Governor Kathy Hochul’s announcement comes about two weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a Public Service Announcement warning that threats of violence against the United States are likely heightened because of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The FBI specifically cited New Year’s Eve as a point of concern, as well as winter holiday celebrations.

“Ongoing tensions related to the conflict between Israel and HAMAS likely heighten the threat of lone actor violence targeting large public gatherings throughout the winter, including holiday-related, faith-based, New Year’s Eve, and First Amendment protected events related to the conflict,” the FBI wrote on 12 December.

Security measures in the Big Apple on Sunday night will include maximum New York State Police staffing, national guard troops on duty, the 24th Weapons of Mass Destruction – Civil Support Team on stand-by and heightened surveillance on public transport, according to Ms Hochul’s announcement.

“Out of an abundance of caution, you’ll see a large security presence on the ground and in the air during the festivities to ensure New Yorkers can celebrate safely,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Law enforcement officials said there have been no credible threats against New Year’s Eve celebrations, The New York Times reports.

The city’s main celebration, the Times Square ball drop, was expected to see its first event since 2019 with pre-Covid attendance levels, the Associated Press reports.

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