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Metro-North Ramps Up Security After Threat

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Metro-North and Connecticut State Police canine units patrolled trains and train stations Friday in the wake of a new terror threat against New York City.

Other heightened security measures included random bag checks at the Stamford and South Norwalk train stations among others along the New Haven line.

The beefed up security went into effect after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly indicated there was "credible information" that terrorists may be plotting  attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., during the 10th anniversary of 9/11 Sunday.

Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, said Friday some measures were already planned to safeguard trains and train stations during the 10th anniversary weekend of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

"In preparation for the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the MTA has taken measures to heighten security across its transportation network in coordination with local, state and federal law enforcement partners," Ander said. "Some of these measures are very visible, while others have been taken behind the scenes to ensure the continued security of the MTA's customers, employees and critical infrastructure."

State Police Lt. Paul Vance said security efforts were "stepped up" Friday after the new terror threat, also adding that many of the increased security measures were already in place for the weekend.

"Back in 2010 the state police introduced canine teams assigned specifically to Metro-North and Amtrak in an effort to target and prevent potential terrorist attacks, and we increased those units on the trains and train stations over Labor Day Weekend," Vance said.

Vance said while there is "no specific threat against Connecticut," state police are "well aware of the new threat against New York City and taking all appropriate measures" to safeguard the state's trains, buses and highways.

Vance pointed out that "Operation Iron Eagle," a top security patrol of specially trained troopers that includes dogs and radiation-detecting devices, was put into place Labor Day Weekend. He said the unit is "patrolling crowds in busy areas and transportation hubs" such as train stations, airports, bus stations and stadiums.

Kevin Nurskick, a spokesman for the state's Department of Transportation, said his department, while not an enforcement agency, was alerted Friday about beefed up security along Metro-North's New Haven line.

"Security of our transportation infrastructure is not taken lightly and efforts have been stepped up to deal with recent information concerning the terror threat in New York," Nursick said. "But there is always security precautions taken on our rail lines. Some of those are overt, and some you won't ever see. But they are always in place."

Bloomberg said Thursday during a news conference in New York that "terrorists view the anniversary as an opportunity to strike again. In the next few days we should all keep our eyes wide open."

That threat continues despite the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden earlier this year. It concerns a possible al-Qaida-sponsored attack targeting New York or Washington on or near Sept. 11, a U.S. official indicated.

The official said the intelligence concerns a potential vehicle-borne attack, possibly on a transportation hub or bottleneck, and said it may be broader than a car or truck bombing. Another intelligence official said the information hasn't been fully vetted.

Customers who notice anything unusual or see anyone who appears suspicious are urged to alert a police officer or MTA employee, or call 888/NYC-SAFE (692-7233).

Are you changing any plans you had to travel this weekend in light of the latest terrorist threat and 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks? Leave a comment below.

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