New York City is 'Essentially No. 1' Target for Iranian Terrorists

NY Daily News - February 15, 2012

by Roccoe Parascandola AND Larry Mcshane

Recent international bomb plots show rising threat to the city, intel experts say

A trio of international bomb plots linked to Iran this week only reinforced concerns that the erratic nation could target New York City for attack. "Iran is the subject of the vast majority of our discussions right now," said Mitchell Silber, director of intelligence analysis for the NYPD. "This, right now, is a front-burner issue. I hesitate to say it's No. 1, because we don't want to ignore the other threats, but right now, it's essentially No. 1."

Israeli officials linked three bombing plots on Monday and Tuesday to Iranian terrorists -- including one who blew off his own leg with a botched grenade toss in Bangkok.

The Tuesday blast in Thailand followed the bombing of an Israeli diplomatic car in New Delhi, where four people were injured on Monday.

On the same day, a bomb plot targeting another Israeli diplomatic car in Tbilisi, Georgia, was disrupted by authorities without any injuries.

"Iran is behind these attacks," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

The Bangkok home where an accidental explosion blew off the roof before one of its occupants was crippled by the grenade blast is a few miles from the Israeli Embassy.

The Iranian man was fleeing the blast when he tossed a grenade at police -- only to have it ricochet back and explode at his feet, authorities said.

A second Iranian man was arrested and Israeli television station reported the suspects confessed to targeting Israeli locations.

Just last month, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress that Iranian leadership was more inclined to strike directly at the United States over "real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."

Locally, the country's terror potential came into sharp focus back in October after Iran was linked to a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador in a D.C. restaurant.

"Then it was, 'Wow. That could start a war with the Saudis, or that would start a war with the U.S.' That was a huge attention grabber a shot across the bow, Silber said.

U.S.-Iranian tensions remain high as the country of combative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly develops a nuclear arsenal.

Head of the Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.) said if they decide to attack, the city would be in the bull's-eye.

"New York is the No. 1 target," King said. "New York has all the targets that terrorists want."