There is a "significant possibility" of major terrorist attacks here and abroad, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly warned a group of law enforcement and private security experts Tuesday.
Legislative leaders in Washington recently noted that terrorists have made gains since 2011, despite the death of Osama bin Laden and the crippling of al-Qaida leadership from drone strikes, Kelly said.
"As fundamentalist groups gain converts in the Middle East and near Asia it should come as no surprise . . . that we are concerned about this, because we have been talking about this for quite a while," Kelly said during the NYPD Shield Conference. The conference features security experts and government officials who share information on terrorism.
Developments in North Africa and the Middle East, the civil war in Syria and the continued activity of Iran and Hezbollah "have all made terrorist attacks both here and abroad a significant possibility," Kelly said.
"This is a time for vigilance and not complacency; the world we live in is a very dangerous place," he warned.
Kelly's comments came with three weeks left in his tenure as the city's 41st police commissioner.
Since he was appointed in 2002, Kelly has made counterterrorism a strength of the NYPD by increasing the number of people working in intelligence, creating heavily armed quick-response forces and helping get the city millions of dollars in federal funding.
After addressing the group, Kelly indicated to reporters that he recently shared his terror assessment with Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio, who announced last week that William Bratton will be the city's new police commissioner on Jan. 1.
During the conference, Kelly and other officials noted that the NYPD has held some recent exercises to sharpen defenses against potential attacks. Among those were a mock radiological "dirty bomb" explosion in Coney Island and an active-shooter scenario in Kings Plaza mall in Brooklyn.