New Yorkers shouldn't be afraid to go to malls, Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday, a day after an online video was posted threatening shopping centers throughout the country and Canada.
Schumer said while there is "no credible threat to New York City," law enforcement officials knew about the video for several days before it was posted and are vigilant.
"They've alerted shopping malls, they've alerted all of those who may be susceptible targets," Schumer said, speaking at an unrelated news conference at his New York City office. "And they informed me today that they will be spending particular time patrolling those malls even though there is no danger."
The video was attributed to al Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist militant group behind the deadly 2013 attack on a Kenyan shopping center. It did not mention any specific New York targets, Schumer said.
"But what they're trying to do is attract lone wolves: the same kind of people who did the terrible killings in France, and motivate them to act on their own," Schumer said, adding that al Shabaab has a very good social media presence. "So far, our intelligence has been very good about going after these lone wolves, figuring out who they are and quietly preventing them from taking any action. But that's the danger on the horizon."
At Minnesota's Mall of America it was business as usual, with most people seemingly oblivious to the latest threats. Extra security measures were being taken, according to a MOA statement, but there were no visible signs of extra law enforcement.
Clem Jauquet, 57, said he knew about the threat but was not concerned enough to skip his usual walk around the mall. "I trust the government will protect us from bomb threats," he said.