The terror threat that has New York City on high-alert today was orchestrated by al-Qaeda's leader to avenge the death of Osama Bin Laden.
The Daily reports that Ayman al-Zawahri, bin Laden's successor and former deputy, personally recruited three terrorists to attack Washington, D.C. or New York City around the time of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
U.S. authorities are scrambling to sort through information that the CIA developed in the past 24 hours indicating that at least three individuals entered the U.S. in August by air with the intent to launch a vehicle-borne attack against Washington, D.C. or New York around the anniversary of 9/11, according to intelligence officials.
According to The Daily, officials said they are acting on unverified intelligence from a single, “credible source.”
Of the three al-Qaida operatives, all of whom speak fluent English, two are believed to be American citizens, one of Egyptian descent and one of Yemeni descent.
Zawahri reportedly worked with the Afghan Taliban to help smuggle the three Arab operatives to launch a series of attacks “in the U.S. and possibly Europe.”
"Al Qaeda has shown an interest in important dates and anniversaries." said Janice Fedarcyk, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the New York office, at a Thursday evening press conference in Manhattan. "In this instance it is accurate that there is credible, specific but unconfirmed information."
In response to the news, police commissioner Ray Kelly has beefed up security around the city, according to the Associated Press. Police are increasing security at bridges and tunnels, setting up vehicle checkpoints, doing bomb sweeps of parking garages and towing more illegally parked cars, Kelly said.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the cautionary measures were nothing New Yorkers hadn't seen before. On Friday morning, Bloomberg rode the 5 train down to City Hall to try to assure commuters the city was ready.
"We don't want al-Qaeda or any other organization ... to take away the freedoms without firing a shot," he said after getting off the train near the Brooklyn Bridge. Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to just "go back to work. And leave it to the professionals."