new york skyline.
(photo credit: Gary Hershorn / Reuters)
NEW YORK – New Yorkers are busy celebrating this Fourth of July weekend, and the
US’s first Independence Day since al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in
a daring raid in Pakistan.
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Unlike in previous years, the FBI and the
Department of Homeland Security said there is currently “no specific or credible
information” that hostile organizations are planning to carry out a terrorist
attack on US soil. Still, they urged people to remain vigilant.
9/11 attacks of 2001 in which al-Qaida hijackers crashed passenger planes into
the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, killing thousands, such warnings have
become part and parcel of almost every major national holiday. This year,
however, an anecdotal survey of people on the street suggests those fears have
Tom McGeveran, co-founder and editor of Capital New
York, a local news website, said the death of bin Laden was irrelevant to his
holiday, which he planned to spend with friends at a barbecue in
“It’s been 10 years and I don’t think people think of that
immediately when they think of big holidays anymore,” McGeveran said. “They just
do what they’d normally do.”
Maydell Bovain, an employee at an Ace
Hardware store in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, said he felt uplifted by news
that bin Laden was killed, and that Americans “needed” it in order to feel
“When we bunch up into large groups of people, sometimes people
will be having doubts and they don’t want to come out and get involved in the
festivities over everything that’s going on in the world,” Bovain said. “It
feels good, a relaxing feeling that you can just go out and have fun with your
family without having to worry.”
Asaf Khan, who runs a deli in the East
Village, said bin Laden’s death was a “blessing” and showed the US would
retaliate against its enemies.
“The world is a better place without this
villain,” Khan said.
“There are still many bad people who want to do
harm, but I think it’s a good thing for this Independence Day that he is not
At the same time, the FBI speculated that the killing of bin
Laden might spur al-Qaida sympathizers into a bid to avenge his death. It said
large gatherings such as when people watch the fireworks display over the Hudson
River on July 4 could be on terrorists’ sights.
“Such targets offer the
opportunity to inflict mass casualties, with the added objectives of causing
economic and psychological damage on the United States,” the FBI warned.