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New York City’s bridges have longed been the target of terrorist attacks. In 1993 officials discovered a plot by Omar Abdel-Rahman to target the George Washington Bridge and other sites.
According to HomeLand Security News Wire Al-Qaeda operative Lyman Faris was arrested in 2003 and pleaded guilty to planning to cut the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge under the direction of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks. Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah listed bridges as possible terror targets in a classified Guantanamo Bay report obtained by the New York Times in 2011, and that same year, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani told Forbes that officials had “plenty of intelligence” that Islamic terrorists were targeting the George Washington Bridge.
According to USA Today, recent breaches on both the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge have heightened security as the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks near. On 22 July, two German artists hoisted white flags atop two towers on the Brooklyn Bridge in recognition of the date of bridge designer John Roebling’s death in 1869. The New York Police Department (NYPD) has since asked Interpol to help locate the two in Germany. Then on 20 August, pro-Palestinian protesters hung a flag from the Manhattan Bridge, but police are not treating that incident as a security breach. “People climbed the bridge, and it took hours to accomplish that task,” said Manny Gomez, a retired FBI special agent and NYPD sergeant. “What could terrorist groups have done in that multi-hour time period with a dirty bomb, a nuclear bomb or a chemical device?” Gomez wants officials to focus more on securing New York’s bridges, adding that their iconic status makes them prime targets for al-Qaeda.