Terror attacks on rail systems by domestic terrorists: a major U.S concern


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The terror attacks in Paris have renewed a sense of insecurity among residents of major U.S. cities. One of the latest Islamic State threats calls on its supporters to target and bomb key U.S. targets, including public transportation hubs, and even police stations.

Law enforcement officers in New York have been ordered to remain vigilant. “Pay close attention to people as they approach and look for their hands as they approach you,” reads an internal New York Police Department safety memo which the Daily News obtained.

As DHS officials focus on assuring the American public that security agencies remain on high alert, last week’s incidents on two of the nation’s major metropolitan rail systems raised more concerns about public safety and preparedness.

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Rail arcing
Rail arcing

According to HomeLand Security News Wire, last Monday, one person died and eighty-four fell ill after heavy smoke filled the L’Enfant Plaza Metro in Washington, D.C. Officials believe an “electrical arcing event” caused the incident. “The train did not derail. There was no fire on the train. The arcing event was on the wayside, involving the third rail and the supply cables going to the third rail,” National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Mike Flanigon said.

“The early indications are this did not involve terrorism but involved a mechanical failure that occurred,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

The following day, roughly 150 New York Fire Department firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire at a construction site in Penn Station that began before 2.30 a.m. The fire, labeled an accident, injured two firefighters.

Western Journalism notes that an ISIS supporter published multiple threats on Twitter a few hours before the fire, warning that “tomorrow New York will burn” and predicting a “3:00 a.m. bomb.”