New Year’s holiday threats prompt more security in Times Square, other locations

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NEW YORK–Federal and local security officials are tightening security in high-profile locations tied to New Year’s celebrations, including New York’s Times Square and the Rose Bowl festivities near Los Angeles.

Before President Barack Obama left for his Hawaii vacation he asked his top security officials for a briefing on security threats facing the nation over the year-end holidays. Among the threats he was told of was one originating overseas that warned of possible attacks in three major U.S. cities–New York, Los Angeles and Washington–between the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to senior U.S. officials briefed on the matter.

The threats were uncorroborated and was based on a single source, and is among many that officials are tracking. Federal and local officials say they have to treat even uncorroborated threats seriously. Another earlier single-sourced threat in December didn’t materialize. But what authorities worry more about are possible plots that they don’t know of.

In New York, where about 1 million are expected to watch the ball drop in midtown, police are prepping security, with about 6,000 officers planned to be on duty Thursday night. The city will use mobile cameras, bomb-sniffing dogs, mounted patrols, helicopter patrols and radiation detectors to ensure safety.

Also, no one will be allowed in the Times Square area with big backpacks or alcohol, and all attendees will have to go through two metal detectors.

Meanwhile, Brussels’ mayor announced Wednesday that the city’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display was canceled due to an extremist attack threat.