New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Biden makes his pitch as tax questions mount Hochul gets early boost as NY gubernatorial race takes shape Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Boosters take a big step forward MORE (D) said Friday that the New York Police Department (NYPD) is on “high alert” for threats after the U.S. airstrike the day before that killed Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani.
De Blasio, who ran a short-lived presidential campaign last year, maintained that no specific threats had so far been leveraged against America’s largest city but that Tehran controls an international network of proxies who Soleimani was in charge of directing.
“No credible and specific threats directed at New York City at this moment, but the problem is that Iranian proxies have previously … scouted out New York City targets, Hezbollah in particular,” de Blasio said on MSNBC, referring to the Lebanese armed group that receives support from Iran.
“We’re not just dealing with another country. We’re dealing with a very sophisticated, modern country with a huge military and an internationally organized terrorist network,” he added. “We have to be prepared, and that’s why the NYPD is on high alert to protect New Yorkers and to protect those symbols of America that are the places most likely you might see an attack by an Iranian proxy.”
The remarks came after the Pentagon launched an airstrike against Soleimani in Baghdad late Thursday, killing him as well as an unknown number of Iran-backed militia fighters.
Soleimani was a long-feared adversary of the U.S., directing Iran-backed armed groups across the Middle East and beyond. He is suspected of being responsible, through Tehran-linked militias, for hundreds of U.S. casualties in Iraq since the 2003 invasion.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed “harsh retaliation” over Thursday's strike, sparking fears that the move could escalate an already combustible situation in Iraq and the broader region.
“If this turns into a full-scale shooting war, and right now it’s the direction it’s going in, we would be fools to assume that this doesn’t end up with multiple acts of terror here in the United States eventually,” said de Blasio.
President TrumpDonald TrumpGrant Woods, longtime friend of McCain and former Arizona AG, dies at 67 Super PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump Glasgow summit raises stakes for Biden deal MORE defended the strike against Soleimani on Friday, saying the Iranian general was responsible for the killing or wounding of “thousands” of Americans and was “plotting to kill many more.”