NYPD says it is monitoring potential al-Qaida threats to the U.S. Open
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A top NYPD intelligence official said Wednesday that al-Qaida terrorists are encouraging sympathizers in the United States to bomb the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing Meadows this summer.
But Rebecca Weiner, the NYPD's director of intelligence analysis, said there was no information a plot was underway.
Weiner based her remarks on an article in the latest issue of Inspire, the online English magazine of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula that called for bombings by its supporters in the United States, Britain and France.
During a meeting at police headquarters, Weiner said that "among those suggested targets is the U.S. Open, which is coming up in a couple of weeks."
Weiner spoke to law enforcement officials, corporate executives and reporters at the meeting, held occasionally to give updates in the war on terrorism.
"I want to make very clear," Weiner told the group, "we have had no threat reporting related to the U.S. Open. We will ensure that the suggestions in this magazine remain hypothetical. Nonetheless, we would be remiss not to take note of it."
The article claims that supposedly easily built bombs can inflict massive casualties if detonated in locations with many people. The article says learning to make a homemade bomb "allows Muslims to train at home instead of risking a dangerous travel abroad."
Professional tennis matches should be targeted because "they are visited by thousands of people, and by prominent people, especially the U.S. Open."
At the meeting, former Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis explained how law enforcement dealt with the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
Last year's U.S. Open, coming five months after the bombing, saw an increase in security and lengthy delays at times for spectators getting into the stadium.
Chris Widmaier, a spokesman for the United States Tennis Association, which runs the U.S. Open, said it is aware of the al-Qaida article. He said the USTA is continually updating its security and is in constant contact with law enforcement.