The Iraqi Prime Minister says his country has uncovered a plot by ISIS militants to launch terrorist attacks against subway systems in both New York and Paris, a claim that American and French intelligence authorities have not yet confirmed.
Speaking to a group of journalists at the United Nations in New York on Thursday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the threat of an attack was "imminent," and that the newly discovered plots had not been thwarted by Iraqi authorities. The prime minister added that U.S. intelligence agencies had been warned about the threat and that the information came from ISIS militants who had been captured.
NSC Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden told reporters that the plot hasn't been verified.
We’ve seen the reports of Prime Minister Abadi’s comments. We have not confirmed such a plot, and would have to review any information from our Iraqi partners before making further determinations. We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners."
Al-Abadi's comments come just days after the U.S. and a coalition of allies began a series of targeted air strikes against ISIS militants and infrastructure within Syria. Meanwhile, the U.S. has expanded its air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and it continues to provide funding for Kurdish peshmerga forces fighting the terrorist group. ISIS has repeatedly threatened retaliation for U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, executing hostages and blaming it on American and British action in the region.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie both said they were increasing police presence due to the conflict in the Middle East.
"The New York City area has always been a top target for terrorists wishing to spread hatred and fear, and we would be in a state of denial to say that what is going on internationally has not raised that danger," Cuomo said in a statement obtained by The Washington Times. "Our residents should rest assured that we are doing everything necessary to keep the region safe."
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly threatened the homeland upon his release from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, saying "I'll see you guys in New York."
(Image via Flickr user drpavloff)