New York City police have increased security around Israeli and Jewish institutions in the city, in the wake of the attacks against Israeli diplomats in India and Georgia earlier this week. And although officials said that there was no specific threat, they said that they were not taking any chances.
Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said that police have been acting to provide more security to Israeli and Jewish institutions in recent weeks, even before the attacks this week, in which an Israeli diplomat's wife was badly injured when a bomb went off near her vehicle. Among the institutions where security has been increased are Israeli government and cultural institutions, synagogues, and Jewish schools.
But the increased security was no reason for panic, said the FBI's Janice Fedarcyk, who oversees the Bureau's New York City office Joint Terrorism Taskforce. "The fact that the city is taking additional steps probably is due diligence and is prudent, but certainly there is no indication, and there is no specific information coming to us, that indicates that there is any imminent threat,” she said.
Several months ago, New York police arrested Iranian-connected terrorists who had planned to attack Jewish institutions and murder the Saudi Arabian ambassador. In an article in the Wall Street Journal, Mitchell Silber, the director of intelligence analysis for the NYPD wrote that New York was a “prime target” for Iranian terrorists. “Iran has a proven record of using its official presence in a foreign city to coordinate attacks, which are then carried out by Hezbollah agents from abroad, often leveraging the local community—whether wittingly or not—as facilitators,” Silber wrote, citing the attacks on Jewish community institutions in Argentina in 1992 and 1994.
“Iranian agents were sent to Argentina years before the attacks, where they integrated into society and became Argentine nationals,” and the same kinds of “sleeper cells” could carry out attacks in New York, he said. “The NYPD must assume that New York City could be targeted by Iran or Hizbullah,” Silber wrote, adding that “as the West's conflict with Iran over its nuclear program continues to heat up, New York City—especially with its large Jewish population—becomes an increasingly attractive target.”