clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

SECURITY ALERT IMPOSED ON N.Y. AIRPORTS

The highest security alert since the Gulf War was imposed at the area's three major airports Sunday amid reports of a planned "suicide massacre."

The measures included closing at least one rooftop parking lot, possible car searches and towing of vehicles left unattended outside terminals at Kennedy International, LaGuardia and Newark airports, officials said.The actions were based on information from law enforcement agencies, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. The agency wouldn't provide further details about the security measures or any threats.

FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette also would not comment Sunday.

However, car and truck bombs, sometimes set off by suicidal drivers, are a favored method of some Middle East terrorist groups.

According to one published report, the FBI learned that Kennedy Airport was a specific target of Islamic terrorists. The airport is a main entry and departure point for thousands of visitors to the United States.

Newsday, quoting officials speaking on condition of anonymity, said the FBI had received detailed intelligence that two militant groups - the Palestinian Hamas and the Iran-backed Hezbollah, or Party of God - were planning a "suicide massacre" that could come at any time.

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Federico Pena announced new airport precautions nationwide to "deter possible criminal or terrorist acts."

Pena also didn't give specifics, but factors that may have played a role in the decision include the recent U.S. detention of Mousa Abu Marzuk, alleged to be an Islamic terrorist leader, and the New York trial of 11 people on charges of conspiring to plot terrorist acts.

D. Joy Faber, a spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the three airports, said there was no telling how long the measures would remain in effect.