New York (dpa) – An attack like the hostage standoff in a Sydney cafe is “inevitable” in New York City, according to a senior counterterrorism official, citing recent terrorist-inspired violence in Western cities.
Australian police stormed a Lindt chocolate shop Tuesday in central Sydney after Man Haron Monis had held customers and staff at gunpoint for more than 16 hours.
Monis, who claimed to be acting on behalf of the Islamic State group, and two hostages were killed during the raid.
John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism of the New York Police Department, said that a Sydney-style attack in the city was “less a question of if, and more a question of when.”
“I think in many ways it is inevitable,” he told CBS News.
Miller pointed out deadly attacks in Canada, New York and Sydney since Islamic State militants, who are fighting in Iraq and Syria, put out call in September for sympathizers in Western countries to lash out “with what they have at hand.”
On October 20 and 22, two men, acting independently of each other, killed two soldiers in Canada – one using his car, the other a gun near Parliament in Ottawa.
On October 23, a man attacked four police officers with a hatchet in New York City.
All three attackers were shot dead by police.
Although all three men acted alone and were not directly affiliated with any groups, authorities said they were inspired by the Islamic State militants.
Zale Thompson, the assailant in New York, had 270 internet visits to Islamic State and al-Qaeda sites, which depict beheadings and terrorist attacks, in the 20 days proceeding his hatchet attack, Miller said.
Miller said that he talked to his counterparts Tuesday in Sydney to find out what his team could learn from tactics they used to end the cafe standoff.