Warning large July 4 celebrations in US may be ‘attractive targets’ for attacks

Warning large July 4 celebrations in US may be ‘attractive targets’ for attacks

The largest event in the US is the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show (Picture: Getty Images)

As Americans gear up to celebrate the Fourth of July, federal agencies are warning that large gatherings may be ‘attractive targets’ for attackers.

The day before the United States’ birthday, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued bulletins stating that lone offenders and individual groups pose the biggest threat to ‘large-scale firework celebrations’ in cities like New York and San Francisco and Las Vegas.

There has been a ‘heightened threat environment’ in the US since the attack in Israel in October fueling individuals with an agenda, said senior investigative correspondent Aaron Katersky of ABC News, which obtained the intelligence bulletins.

‘The political environment of the country certainly doesn’t help,’ he said on Wednesday morning.

‘So police are being told by the police department to be on watch for these types of things which are notoriously difficult to guard against.’

The threats can take on different forms depending on the city.

New York City has the nation’s largest event with the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show, shooting off from barges on the Hudson River for the first time in a decade. This year’s spectacle will include 60,000 fireworks with 30 colors.

‘Police will have boats in the water where barges are launching the fireworks, will be monitoring the crowd using drones and helicopters and it’s just a lot of man power that goes into keeping these crowds safe,’ Katersky said.

Large Fourth of July celebrations are ‘attractive targets’ for attackers, according to FBI and DHS bulletins (Picture: Getty Images)

Besides the threat of a mass casualty event, New York is home to the United Nations and a global capital of the world, so it has a spy problem, he added.

‘It’s is an opportunity for foreign governments to get a look at how police guard big events so that itself can pose a threat,’ he said.

Meanwhile in San Francisco, where petty crime has become a problem, there can be ‘targets of opportunity there for thieves’ as well as a larger threat of violence, according to Katersky.

The political environment of the US does not help the threat of attacks on the Fourth of July, according to a senior investigative correspondent (Picture: Getty Images)

Despite the bulletins, Americans are advised to enjoy the holiday without fearing for their safety.

‘The message from the police departments is always go about your business but keep your head on the swivel a little bit,’ Katersky said. ‘And if you see something untoward, mention it. There will be plenty of police officers in all of these locations.’

Mass shootings over the Fourth of July week have become more frequent over the past three years, numbering 25 in 2021, 27 in 2022 and 27 last year, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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