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NYPD sets up 'hard' and 'soft' security zones for terror trial

The New York Police Department plans to divide lower Manhattan into "hard" and "soft" security zones for the trial of Sept. 11 conspiracy suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged accomplices, imposing the toughest levels of security around the federal courthouse on Pearl Street, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Kelly, in a speech to the Police Foundation last week, described in more detail the two-zone security arrangement the NYPD will enforce during the trial of the professed mastermind of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

No date has been set for the trial of Mohammed, 45, and the other four men - Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali. All are accused of orchestrating the 2001 attacks, which killed 2,976 in New York and Washington, and are being held in the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Kelly said the most stringent conditions will be imposed in an inner, "hard" zone around the federal courthouse, the state courthouse at 60 Centre St., police headquarters, the U.S. attorney's office, St. Andrew's Church on Cardinal Hayes Place and Chatham Towers, a Park Row residential complex with an underground garage.

Within the "hard" zone, metal barriers will restrict vehicular traffic and pedestrians' movement along Worth Street to Mott Street on the north side, Park Row to Pearl Street on the east, Madison Street to Avenue of the Finest on the south, and Centre Street on the west, according to Kelly and current vehicle-exclusion zones.

Vehicle traffic in this inner zone will be heavily screened for explosives, and uniformed cops will be at fixed locations, he said.

An outer, or "soft," perimeter will be bounded by Canal Street on the north, Bowery/St. James Place on the east, Frankfort Street and Park Row on the south, and Broadway on the west, Kelly said.

In this zone, vehicular traffic and pedestrians' movement generally will not be impeded, although uniformed officers on foot, on horseback and in vehicles will be on patrol, he said.

For months, anticipating that the trial would be moved to New York, officials have said police will employ more personnel, close streets and set up barriers around the courthouse.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced last month that Mohammed and the four alleged accomplices would be tried at the federal courthouse, just blocks from the trade center site.

The city estimates that the first-year costs of security measures related to the alleged terrorists' trial will amount to $216 million, mostly in police overtime. Additional years will cost the city about $200 million each, according to estimates.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) are asking the Obama administration to cover the city's costs with a special federal budget appropriation.

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