Security beefed up ahead of July 4th celebrations
WASHINGTON – As millions of Americans get ready to enjoy fireworks and barbecues over the US July Fourth holiday weekend, officials are working around the clock to put heightened security measures in place.
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have issued an alert calling for local authorities and the public to remain vigilant for possible threats following recent calls for violence by Islamic State militants.
In Washington, nine security checkpoints will be set up to screen the tens of thousands of visitors expected for fireworks and festivities on the National Mall. Coolers, backpacks and packages are subject to inspection, and about 18,000 feet of chain link fencing will be installed, the National Park Service said.
In Boston, police kept a watchful eye near the Charles River where thousands of people will gather to watch the fireworks display. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh urged residents to be vigilant.
“Listen and cooperate with our public safety officers and if you see something, say something. I’ve been asked several times about what happens if you see something out of the ordinary and I say, call 911, grab a police officer, let them know, let a public safety official know if you see something that doesn’t look right,” Walsh said.
In New York City, the nation’s largest municipal police force assigned about 7,000 officers and nearly all its counterterrorism personnel to handle security around Independence Day events.
Last week, terror attacks in Tunisia, Kuwait and France prompted U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to issue a statement calling for increased vigilance over the patriotic holiday in the United States. –Reuters