| NEW YORK
NEW YORK Nov 24 New York police will use
sand-filled trucks, radiation detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs and
heavily armed officers on Thursday to defend the 90th Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade, which Islamic State has encouraged its
followers to attack.
Officials expect 3.5 million people to converge on the
2.5-mile (4-km) parade route in Manhattan for the annual,
nationally televised ritual that initiates the holiday shopping
season with giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
The 82 sand trucks from the Sanitation Department will be
used to counter a threat by Islamic State, also known as ISIS,
ISIL or Daesh, which has called the parade an "excellent
The group has encouraged readers of its online magazine
Rumiyah to use motor vehicles to kill and injure people, similar
to the way a Tunisian-born assailant killed more than 80 people
at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France.
The sand trucks weigh 16 tons (14.5 metric tonnes) and twice
that when filled with sand, making them difficult to move even
if rammed by large vehicles.
Islamic State, which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria and
seeks to inspire attacks by others abroad, claimed
responsibility for the July 14 attack in Nice.
"We are aware of some of the reports that have been out
there, but I want to assure all New Yorkers there's no credible
and specific information of any specific threat directed toward
this parade," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told a news
conference on Wednesday.
Police have also used the sand trucks to protect nearby
Trump Tower, the home and campaign headquarters of
President-elect Donald Trump.
The parade, due to begin at 9 a.m. EST (1400 GMT), will
start in Central Park and run down Sixth Avenue, one block from
Fifth Avenue where Trump Tower is located, and end near the
Macy's department store on 34th Street.
De Blasio estimated 250,000 people came out on Wednesday to
watch the giant balloons being inflated.
"The NYPD is ready," de Blasio said. Police have been
preparing "literally since the end of last year's parade," he
This year police will ban vehicle traffic from crossing the
parade route, unlike in past years when a few cross streets were
open, requiring the trucks and 114 smaller blocker cars.
"We get paid to keep people safe and we'll keep people safe
tomorrow," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said.
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; editing by Grant McCool)