NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD urged New Yorkers not fear an act of terrorism at Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade after reports that an ISIS-run magazine called the event “an excellent target,” the NYPD said Monday.
“The overarching message is come to the Thanksgiving Day Parade,” said John Miller, the department's counterterrorism commissioner in a press conference Monday. “Have a good time, bring the family.”
An online edition of an ISIS English-language magazine Rumiyah published a photo of the parade with instructions on how to cause the most fatalities, according to a New York Post report on Sunday.
But Miller said the police department began preparing for a potential terrorist attack at the parade long before the magazine published the call to its readers.
“This is not something that occurred to us over the weekend,” said Miller. “This is something we have factored into planning in years past.”
The parade will be protected by detection dogs and hundreds of “blocker cars” to prevent an attack similar to the Bastille Day attack in Nice, where a terrorist drove a truck into the crowds and claimed 86 lives, Miller said.
And NYPD officials have provided training to more than 130 truck rental businesses in and near New York City on how to identify suspicious behaviors and requests, Miller said.
This is not the first time ISIS has urged its followers to target New York City — ISIS released video footage of Times Square in 2015.
Miller told New Yorkers that the police were prepared to protect the parade but also admitted that the article could result in an attempted attack.
“We live in a world where you have terrorist organizations like ISIL and Al Qaeda that pose credible threats,” Miller said. “We live in a city that has been a repeated target of terrorist attacks and attempts.”
The NYPD has prevented at least 20 other terrorist attacks from taking place in New York City, according to Miller.