New York City police officers staged a counter-terrorism drill in the Big Apple during the morning rush hour on Wednesday.
Officials said the exercise was scheduled several weeks earlier. However, the New York Post quoted a source saying it was ordered Monday, “hours” after the first of three terror attacks this week in Russia. The first attack, a twin bombing at two Moscow subway stations, killed 39 people. Two days later, a double suicide bombing left 12 more dead and 18 wounded in the southern republic of Dagestan, about a thousand miles south of the Russian capital. A third suicide bombing attack struck the same region Thursday morning, killing two people in western Dagestan.
The second Russian attack took place just a few hours before the New York Multi-Agency Super Surge counter terrorism drill was carried out.
Members of the city's police force, the MTA, Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, Army National Guard and other U.S. agencies reassured travelers as they patrolled the New York subway system, telling them it was only a drill. Bomb-sniffing dogs were walked along the trains and platforms.
Commuters told the New York Daily News they felt “safer” after having seen the uniforms rushing around with guns and other equipment through Grand Central Station, Penn Station and other hubs in the city's transit network. A 48-year-old commuter on the Long Island Railroad added, “I don't want to feel like I'm in a police state, but if it's necessary to keep terrorism at bay, I'm all for it.”