Photo Credit: Jakub Hałun / Wikimedia
NYC's Times Square on October 6, 2023

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responding this week to a video threat published in late October by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The news of the threat comes as the country heads into one of its busiest travel periods of the year.


The video calls for attacks against Jewish and Western targets, among them US, British and French airlines as well as “high profile economic figures,” according to ABC News.

The terror organization is using the October 7th Hamas invasion of Israel and its massacre of more than 1,200 people there to incite would-be terrorists. Nevertheless, the TSA said it is not aware of any “credible threats” resulting from the video, adding that it is in “close contact” with the US Department of Homeland Security.

According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) published a one-hour Arabic-language video on October 29, 2023, entitled: “Questions and Answers Regarding Operation Al-Aqsa Flood.”

The one-hour video featured AQAP leader Sheikh Khalid Omar Batarfi expressing his approval of the attack, and incited Muslims and jihadis in particular to kill citizens of the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, and France.

Batarfi specifically called for action like the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which he cited as the best example to deter the US and other Western countries from their support of Israel.

The video opens with footage of alleged “Jewish attacks” on Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, followed by select video excerpts of Hamas’s October 7th attack and Israel’s military response. Batarfi appears on camera in a Yemeni outfit with a traditional Yemeni dagger on his belt, inside a studio, with an image of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the background.

An AQAP jihadi chant promising the liberation of Jerusalem and Palestine is heard through the segment.

Batarfi addresses all Muslims in the video, saying that the battle with the Jews and the Christians is a “battle of faith” and that that people should not be deceived by the argument that the US and Israel should be fought only because they occupy Muslim land and engage in aggression against Muslims.

The terror leader says mujahideen should “also fight the US and the Jews because they rejected the message of Allah and encroached on Muslim land and stole its wealth,” adding, “We fight them so that all worship is devoted to Allah alone.”

All of this comes as New York City prepares to deploy thousands of police officers, on high alert, in advance of Sunday night’s New Year’s Eve celebrations taking place in the city’s iconic Times Square, when the famous crystal ball drops at precisely 12 midnight to ring in the secular new year, as tons of brightly-colored confetti falls on the celebrants below.

The city expects to see around one million people crowding into Times Square for the ball drop event — an attractive target for terrorists, city officials noted.

Security officials in New York and across the US are telling Americans to have fun and enjoy the events but to also remember to “stay vigilant, and if you see something, say something.”


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.