As the terror alert of an Al Qaeda backed attack in Europe continues, the New York police carried out a drill on Thursday to prepare against attacks on the lines of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The exercise was carried out in an area in the Bronx borough of New York, which was set up to resemble Manhattan's financial district near Wall Street.
New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond W Kelly, who attended the drill, said "This is what we do. We think the unthinkable" as quoted by ABC News. The drill simulated multiple bombs and shooters, including a bomb under a vehicle, and police responded with helicopters, dogs, automatic weapons and an armoured car, the news channel said. The NYPD has been considering ways to deal with a 26/11 styled attack since it occurred, according to NYPD spokesperson Paul Brown, according to The New York Times.
In previous exercises, Browne pointed out that the NYPD had learnt that even with 400 trained officials, its Emergency Service Unit may not be enough if there was a lengthy attack, which was spread out in different locations. In the previous drill, officers of the Organised Crime Control Bureau were given tactical training in the use of heavy weapons, including automatic and semi-automatic machineguns. "A new policy of giving new recruits training to familiarise them with such weapons, during their time in the Police Academy, was also implemented as an outgrowth of the post-Mumbai analysis," NYT said.
In the drill on Thursday, ABC described as one police radio saying, "We've got some info...that the Empire State Building might be next," one police radio said during the drill. This was followed by cops with M4 rifles and M14 assault rifles hunting for snipers and assailants on the streets. "What we try to do is stress the system," Kelly said, noting that it was the ninth exercise since the real attack in November 2008. Meanwhile, several intelligence sources in the US and Europe are indicating of potential terrorist attacks in Europe are possible in the near future. Earlier this month, the US issued a warning for Americans travelling to Europe about being vigilant of a potential terrorist attack that could be executed by Al Qaeda. "Current information suggests that Al Qaeda and affiliated organisations continue to plan terrorist attacks," the alert said. European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions."