A 25-year-old man who planned to attack a restaurant in Rochester, New York, on New Year’s Eve has been arrested and charged with attempting to provide material support to Islamic State, the US Justice Department said on Thursday.
“The FBI thwarted Emanuel Lutchman’s intent to kill civilians on New Year’s Eve,” a Justice Department statement quoted FBI Special Agent in Charge Adam S. Cohen as saying. “The FBI remains concerned about people overseas who use the Internet to inspire people in the United States to commit acts of violence where they live.”
In the run-up to the festivities, about 6,000 police officers will guard revelers on New Year’s Eve at one of the city’s highest-profile events, the Times Square countdown.
An estimated one million people are expected in the vicinity of the square on Thursday for the New Year’s Eve dropping of the ball, a tradition begun in 1907 and broken only during wartime blackouts.
In the aftermath of Islamist-inspired attacks in San Bernardino, California, and Paris, the city will draw on its new Critical Response Command counterterrorism unit, which includes more heavily armed officers, to patrol Times Square. The unit, trained to detect and respond to attack plots, was commissioned days before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Officers communicating with smart phones and loud speakers will be empowered to shut down the event at any time and evacuate the area, Police Commissioner William Bratton said, adding that there were no known credible threats against New York City.
In November after attacks in Paris that left 130 people dead, the Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIS, released a video that showed a glimpse of Times Square and then a suicide bomber.