LA metro on alert af­ter bomb threat

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

LOS AN­GE­LES:

Au­thor­i­ties ratch­eted up se­cu­rity on the Los An­ge­les metro fol­low­ing a tip from over­seas about an im­pend­ing bomb at­tack yes­ter­day against a sta­tion in the sprawl­ing rail net­work. The threat was re­layed by an anony­mous man who called a pub­lic safety line run by an uniden­ti­fied for­eign gov­ern­ment, which then passed on the in­for­ma­tion to a Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion ter­ror­ism task force, said Deirdre Fike, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor in charge of the FBI’s of­fice in Los An­ge­les.

The tar­get of the threat­ened at­tack was metro’s Uni­ver­sal City sta­tion-lo­cated near the Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios theme park-where the caller who spoke English said an ex­plo­sive de­vice would go off yes­ter­day, Fike told re­porters at a hastily or­ga­nized press con­fer­ence with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties. Of­fi­cials said they were work­ing to de­ter­mine the cred­i­bil­ity of the threat de­scribed as “very spe­cific.”“The threat is im­mi­nent and it’s re­lated to tomorrow” and con­cerned an of­framp at the sta­tion, Los An­ge­les po­lice chief Char­lie Beck said. He added that au­thor­i­ties had lit­tle time to as­sess the se­ri­ous­ness of the threat and be­cause of its im­mi­nent na­ture had de­cided to move quickly and alert the pub­lic.

Los An­ge­les County Sher­iff Jim McDonnell said the call could be real or a hoax and urged com­muters to re­main vig­i­lant and re­port any sus­pi­cious ac­tiv­ity. He said un­der­cover deputies had been de­ployed through­out the net­work, along with uni­formed of­fi­cers, mem­bers of the bomb squad and K9 ex­plo­sive de­tec­tion units. Metro of­fi­cials mean­while tweeted a sim­ple and suc­cinct re­minder to pas­sen­gers, warn­ing them to re­main alert yes­ter­day. “If you see some­thing, say some­thing,” read the Twit­ter mes­sage sent from the rail­way net­work’s @metrolosan­ge­les han­dle.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said com­muters should ex­pect to be searched, but should go about their lives as nor­mal. He said he planned to ride the metro yes­ter­day from Uni­ver­sal City to re­as­sure com­muters. “My ad­vice is right now, ev­ery­body should go about their nor­mal day tomorrow,” Garcetti said. He added that com­muters should not be fright­ened by the height­ened se­cu­rity. “Those are there for your pro­tec­tion, and we meet threats with ev­ery pos­si­ble pre­cau­tion that we can,” he said. Au­thor­i­ties said there was added vig­i­lance as the threat came about dur­ing the busy hol­i­day sea­son when many peo­ple were out shop­ping or would be vis­it­ing theme parks and at­trac­tions in and around Los An­ge­les, in­clud­ing Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios and Dis­ney­land. The Los An­ge­les metro sys­tem con­sists of six lines, in­clud­ing two rapid tran­sit sub­way lines and four light rail lines that serve 93 sta­tions.

The Uni­ver­sal City sta­tion on the metro sys­tem’s Red Line has been listed as among the busiest in the net­work. Some 145,000 peo­ple use that line daily, Garcetti said. The Red Line con­nects North Hol­ly­wood with the cen­tral and down­town Los An­ge­les. Last year, an emailed threat forced the clo­sure of Los An­ge­les schools for a day be­fore it was de­ter­mined to be a hoax. — AFP

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