Intel bulletin warns of heightened threat environment

Al-Qaeda affiliates and Hezbollah are calling on supporters to target the U.S. and Israeli interests in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict and President Biden’s trip to the region, according to an intelligence bulletin reviewed by CBS News.

While officials say there is no specific or credible threat, the two-page “situational awareness alert” from the New York Counterterrorism Bureau underscores the heightened threat environment. It warned that al Qaeda in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS) has called on its supporters to attack American, British and French nationals and interests because of the Israel-Hamas conflict. It also noted that Hezbollah called for a “day of unprecedented anger” against Israel and the U.S. during Mr. Biden’s visit to Israel Wednesday.

Regarding the explosion at al-Ahli al-Mamdani Hospital in Gaza City, the assessment predicted it would be used to incite violence.

Regardless of who was responsible, the assessment suggested that the blast, which Palestinian officials said caused over 500 deaths, would be used in violent extremist propaganda online that is intended to incite supporters to acts of retaliation and violence. Israelis and Palestinians have blamed each other for the strike on the hospital, but President Biden said Wednesday that the Defense Department data indicated that Israel was not to blame.

Still, the assessment predicted that the explosion would “likely continue to draw public backlash and organized responses, necessitating heightened situational awareness at Israeli government locations/interests” in New York.

On Tuesday, the NYPD instructed all officers to report in full uniform until further notice, announcing that it has postponed all departmental training for the time being.

The NYPD noted in a statement, Wednesday that there are still “no specific, credible threats to New York City, but added “tensions have been rising since the assault against Israel on October 7.”

“The NYPD is doing everything we can do to forestall future violence in our city. However, we know the ongoing events overseas may resonate with individuals domestically and that is hard to anticipate,” the statement continued.

CBS News has also reviewed a State Department diplomatic security cable circulated on Wednesday, which required all diplomatic posts to convene their emergency action committees also known as EACs.

It is a significant step to stand up the Emergency Action Committee (EAC). This entity is responsible for crisis management at diplomatic posts and speaks to the increasingly volatile threat environment at home and at U.S. operations overseas.

The alert said regional security officers along with the Emergency Action Committee personnel should note vulnerable locations and security from host nations.

The cable required all of these committees to confirm the reviews had been undertaken and were completed.

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