Only days after terror attacks killed 17 people in Paris, one of the world’s most brutal terrorist organizations is using the tragedy to rehash previous calls for small-scale attacks around the world.
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In a video distributed online overnight, a spokesman for the Islamic State – also known as ISIS or ISIL – renews calls for followers in Western countries to attack intelligence and law enforcement officers, soldiers and even civilians.
It’s a message ISIS has broadcasted for months, even taking some of the wording in its latest video directly from one released in September. Still, out of an abundance of caution, federal and local authorities overnight urged their agents and officers to be vigilant in the days ahead.
“All officers must exercise tactical considerations in light of the terrorist attack on journalists and police officers in Paris,” said an “officer safety alert” sent throughout the New York Police Department late Saturday night. “Please remain alert and consider tactics at all times while on patrol.”
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are expected to issue a joint intelligence bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, similarly urging vigilance in light of the renewed ISIS calls for attacks against Western countries.
In a separate message issued to law enforcement officials in New York City, the NYPD’s top intelligence and counterterrorism official, Deputy Commissioner John Miller, notes there is no “specific, credible threat” from terrorist groups targeting NYPD officers. Federal officials have said the same about the threat to all cities in the U.S.
“Although there’s not a specific, credible threat that I can point to, I certainly think that the environment has changed over the years,” Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos from Paris on Sunday. “We have a very small number of people, without huge amounts of planning, without huge amounts of resources, inflicting very severe damage.”
In particular, so-called “lone wolves” give Holder “great concern,” he said.
In his message to New York City officials, Miller noted that recent terrorism-related events around the world "reinforce that the current terrorist threat to Western targets is a bifurcated one.”
There are the “'lone wolf' attackers who respond to calls for violence over social media and operate independently and with little or no support or pre-operational planning,” said Miller. But there are also “organizations like al Qaeda, recruiting operators, planning attacks, and exercising some level of command and control."