Police Increase Presence At Shopping Malls, Crowded Areas In Northern Virginia Amid ISIS Terror Threat: Report
TYSON, VIRGINIA - OCTOBER 30: A police car is parked outside as people visit Tysons Corner Center Mall on October 30, 2021 in Tyson, Virginia. Law enforcement in Northern Virginia are expanding police presence at shopping malls, public centers and gatherings over the Halloween weekend in response to a potential ISIS-linked terrorist threat.
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Law enforcement officials in Northern Virginia have increased their presence at shopping malls and other crowded venues this weekend in response to a possible ISIS terror threat.

CBS News reports:

Police said the increased law enforcement presence will be in place through the Halloween weekend and ahead of Virginia’s gubernatorial election. Law enforcement officials said they are acting out of an abundance of caution, and as they learn more about the threat, the increased law enforcement presence could be extended through Tuesday’s election.

“We have increased our police presence throughout the county to include major thoroughfares, transit hubs, shopping plazas and shopping malls,” Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said on Friday. “It’s just our responsibility to have a greater presence, to be more aware and to ask the community to have their eyes and ears peeled for suspicious activities.”

John Cohen, who is the top counterterrorism official at the Department of Homeland Security and the head of the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, warned that U.S. officials have seen a surge in ISIS activity ever since Democrat President Joe Biden’s disastrous pullout from Afghanistan in August.

Cohen said, “Right now we’re seeing a dramatic increase — or an increase — in online activity by media operations associated with different al Qaeda elements and Islamic State.”

Colin Kahl, undersecretary of Defense for policy, told the Senate Armed Services Committee this week that ISIS-K and al-Qaeda have increased their capabilities ever since the withdrawal, and that they may soon have the ability to attack the U.S.

“I think the intelligence community currently assesses that both ISIS-K and al Qaeda have the intent to conduct external operations, including against the United States. But neither currently has the capability to do so,” Kahl said. “We could see ISIS-K generate that capability in somewhere between six or 12 months. I think the current assessments by the intelligence community is that al Qaeda would take a year or two to reconstitute that capability.”

Kahl said that the U.S. needed to “remain vigilant” against the threats and that U.S. intelligence had “considerable evidence” that the two terrorist groups “have the intention to do so.”

“It is our assessment that the Taliban and ISIS-K are mortal enemies,” Kahl claimed. “So, the Taliban is highly motivated to go after ISIS-K. Their ability to do so, I think, is to be determined.”


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