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NYPD: Thanksgiving Day parade will be safe, despite ISIS threat

John Miller, the NYPD's counterterrorism chief, discusses security

John Miller, the NYPD's counterterrorism chief, discusses security preparations on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, for the upcoming Thanksgiving Day parade in the wake of a threat by ISIS in an online publication. Credit: Jeff Bachner

A weekend article in an ISIS online magazine calling Manhattan’s Thanksgiving Day Parade an “excellent target” and urging supporters to truck-bomb the event is like past threats to the city and won’t deter the festivities, said NYPD counterterrorism chief John Miller.

“This is an element we have factored into plans for years past,” Miller said Monday. “As you may recall from last year the [parade] route was lined with hundreds of blocker cars at intersections, very much the way we do along a presidential route in other major events.”

Miller’s comments came in response to a posting in the ISIS publication Rumiyah that urged an attack on this year’s Nov. 24 parade akin to a July Bastille Day attack in Nice, France, when a 31-year-old Tunisian man living in France drove a truck into a festive crowd, killing more than 80 people.

The driver, a lone-wolf attacker French officials said was inspired by ISIS, also died in the bombing.

After the Nice attack, Miller said the NYPD took a proactive step by identifying 181 locations in the metropolitan area that rent trucks to the public, including 135 sites renting vehicles under 26,000 pounds without requiring a commercial driver’s license.

Rental company owners were given guidance about how to identify suspicious behavior of customers and which authorities to call. Some calls came in and all were checked out without any problems, Miller said, adding that he encouraged people to attend the annual holiday tradition.

“Come to the Thanksgiving Day parade, have a good time, bring the family, I always go, I always bring mine,” Miller said.

This year’s parade the 90th, is presented by longtime sponsor, Macy’s. It has been televised since the 1950s.

The three-hour 2016 parade is expected to rival last year’s in terms of attendance, which was estimated in the millions. Some estimate that over 40 million viewers watch the parade on TV.

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