Citing recent terrorism-related arrests in New York and New Jersey and deadly attacks overseas this weekend, Rep. Pete King (R-Seaford) said Americans should be extra "vigilant" this Fourth of July weekend.
In a phone interview with Newsday, King, a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence said, "I would say this is the highest level of concern since 9/11."
King said while he is not aware of any "specific threat against any particular part of the country," he believes deadly attacks in France, Tunisia and Kuwait over the weekend linked to the Islamic State, combined with a string of local arrests of suspected terrorists, signal a cause for alarm.
On Monday, FBI agents arrested and charged Alaa Saadeh, 23, of West New York, with conspiring to support the Islamic militant group. Saadeh's arrest follows the arrests earlier this month of Samuel Rahamin Topaz, 21, of Fort Lee; Munther Omar Saleh, 20, of Queens; and Fareed Mumuni, 21, of Staten Island; all on charges they attempted to join or aid the Islamic State.
Last week, the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security Officials issued a bulletin to local law enforcement agencies warning them of the potential for attacks against officers and the military over the July Fourth holiday -- another indication that authorities are taking threats seriously, King said.
"Generally, they don't put those statements out so far in advance unless there's reason for concern," King said.
While encouraging Americans to "go out and enjoy" the holiday, King also said, "If you see something, say something. Cooperate with police whatever way possible."