December 22, 2011 / 11:05 PM / 8 years ago

Nearly half of extremist plots in NYC aim at Jewish targets

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City police boost security at synagogues during the holiday season because nearly half the plots to attack the city in the past 20 years were aimed at Jewish targets, law enforcement sources said on Thursday.

Since al Qaeda militants flew hijacked airliner attacks into New York’s World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the city considers itself a prime target and authorities traditionally increase security during the busy holiday season.

While law enforcement sources said there was no information to indicate New York would be targeted this holiday season, authorities are still wary after a Nigerian man tried to bring down a Detroit-bound passenger plane on Christmas Day in 2009 with a bomb hidden in his underpants.

New analyses from the New York Police Department (NYPD) Intelligence Division showed that since 1992, eight of 18 plots to attack the city targeted Jewish institutions or Jewish people in New York, law enforcement sources said.

The intelligence analyses also found that New York City had at some point been home to 44 extremist militants since 2002.

Of those, 43 were captured, while Samir Khan, editor of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s Inspire magazine, was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen in September.

In the past decade New York City has developed extensive intelligence and counterterrorism divisions. In response to the new intelligence reports, New York Police Department Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said: “Fortunately the NYPD has gotten close to (the extremists) without their knowledge.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Jerry Norton

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