NYC likely terror target

New York could become a target because of its large Jewish population.

NEW YORK | February 14, 2012

"Iran's next target could well be on American soil"

—Mitchell Silber

Bomb attacks on Israeli embassy staff in India and Georgia raise concerns about New York City being similarly targeted, a city police expert warned.

Writing in the Tuesday edition of The Wall Street Journal, Mitchell Silber, director of intelligence analysis for the New York Police Department, said New York could become an attractive target because of its large Jewish population.

The attacks on Israeli Embassy vehicles in New Delhi and Tbilisi occurred Monday. Israel blamed Iran and the militant group Hezbollah, but Iran strongly denied the charge.

The Georgia attack was aborted as the explosive device was found by the driver, but the New Delhi bomb stuck to an embassy vehicle exploded, wounding four, including the wife of an Israeli defense attache.

"Iran's next target could well be on American soil," Silber wrote in the Journal. "In Senate testimony last month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that Iranian officials 'are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.'

"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 1992 and 1994 bombings of Israeli and Jewish targets in Argentina

The 1992 attack killed 29 people and the 1994 attack killed 85.

Silber wrote that the Argentine attacks were not isolated incidents.

"Hezbollah has been tied to failed attacks in 2009 against Israeli and Jewish interests in Azerbaijan, Egypt and Turkey. Last month, Thai officials arrested a suspected Hezbollah militant for possibly planning attacks there or perhaps facilitating the movement of weapons through Bangkok," he said.

The author said the NYPD must assume that New York could be targeted by Iran or Hezbollah as the West's conflict with Iran over its nuclear program heats up.

He said Iran and Hezbollah, and its supporters, have a presence in and around New York.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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