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Police Tighten Surveillance to Thwart Terrorist Attacks on City

NEW YORK, Dec 12 2017 (IPS) - A Bangladesh immigrant, 27 year-old Akayed Ullah, set off a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a crowded passageway at a Times Square subway station yesterday. The explosive failed to detonate but burnt him and injured three others causing panic during the morning rush hour in the heart of the city.

At a news conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters: “This was an attempted terrorist attack’, pointing out that “terrorists yearn to attack New York City.”

But that target may be increasingly difficult due to stepped up Police surveillance and unprecedented security measures to thwart future attacks.

New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill told reporters the suspect had “an improvised low-tech explosive device attached to his body”

But in the fight against domestic terrorism, experts believe that the biggest single challenge facing New York City is “lone wolf” attacks by terrorists acting individually –and with no known ties to groups overseas.

The pipe bomb followed an attack in October when, Sayfullo Saipov, an immigrant from Uzbekistan rammed a rented truck along a lower Manhattan bike bath killing eight and injuring 12. He was known to have been “radicalized” while living in the US and had not ties to terror groups.

In September 2016, a New Jersey man was convicted of planting bombs in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan. The attack with home-made bombs injured dozens of people.

All three have been described as “lone wolf” attacks on an unsuspecting public.

In a television interview, John Miller, Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism, said preventing lone wolf attacks “is very difficult and getting harder.”

The NYPD’s monitoring of potential attackers has generated civil rights law suits, including charges of “illegal surveillance of Muslims” living in the city.

After the October attack, Miller said Saipov “appears to have followed almost exactly to a T the instructions that ISIS has put out on its social media channels”.

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