BEIRUT: New York City’s top police official says the war in Syria has outstripped Al-Qaeda as the most important terrorist threat to the U.S.
The New York Post Tuesday quoted the NYPD’s Bill Bratton as warning that “thousands” of people from around the world are traveling to fight in Syria, while saying that the central Al-Qaeda organization had shifted from an operational mode to a very “sophisticated” mission focused on inspiring militants.
“The issue with Syria is it is a live war,” Bratoon said. “We estimate that there are a significant number of Americans [in Syria] and when they come back, they’re going to come back with skills that they did not have when they went over there.”
He said the organization’s media efforts had also improved, and noted last month’s news that an American had carried out a suicide bombing, believed to be the first such act by a U.S. national.
They are really going Hollywood in terms of their sophistication,” he said. “The old Osama [bin Laden] group, if you will, and his successor, their ability to reach into the United States and do another 9/11 has been significantly impacted.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 12, 2014, on page 8.