New York City’s police department stepped up its show of force this week in Times Square, military installations, other tourist and transit hubs, following the death of the Islamic State group's leader.
The department’s Chief of Counterterrorism tells News 4 that the unit’s Critical Response Command members outfitted with long guns, explosive detections, k-9 dogs and odor pursue dogs are out on the streets, in subways and all around major events. The increased patrol is a precaution to assure residents of safety and to deter any terrorism-related activities.
"There are resources around the entire city now. We're down in Wall Street, we're up in other parts of Manhattan and other parts of the city with our emergency service people and our Critical Response Command," Counterterrorism Chief James Waters said.
The NYPD says the added security will remain in place at least through the NYC Marathon on Sunday.
At least three terror attacks in New York City have been linked to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the militant group's leader who had blown himself up after being cornered in a dead-end underground tunnel in Syria.
The most recent incident was the 2017 pipe bomb explosion in the subway passage way near the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Nearly two years ago, a truck driver mowed people down on a riverfront bike path near the World Trade Center, killing eight people and injuring a dozen others, in the name of the terror group.
And in 2014, a man wielding a hatchet on a Queens street attacked NYPD officers before he was shot and killed.
The killing of al-Baghdadi by U.S. forces leaves the Islamic State without an obvious leader, a major setback for an organization. But the militant group, which arose from the remnants of al-Qaida in Iraq after that group's defeat by U.S.-led forces in 2008, has ambitions to regenerate again. And it remains a dangerous threat in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.
"The bottom line is: This puts the enemy on its heels, but the ideology — and this sounds so cliched — it is not dead," said Chris Costa, a former senior director for counterterrorism for the National Security Council in the Trump administration.
Key to the Islamic States is its "kill where you are" ethos, encouraging a far-flung network of followers, including those in the United States, to commit violence however and wherever they can. That jihadist message is likely to live on, even with the death of al-Baghdadi.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.