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FBI Warns of Another Terrorist Threat to Nation's Capital
Spring Brings ISIS Threat
The FBI is warning that all the optimistic discussions about the District of Columbia’s strong retail and office market could come to an abrupt halt if terrorists succeed in their threat to hit soft targets in the nation’s capital.
Business has been good recently for restaurants, coffee houses and office landlords in downtown D.C.
For those same reasons, they are prime targets for the kinds of terrorists who hit soft targets in Paris and Brussels in recent months, killing more than a hundred people.
Washington is awash in hard targets, which means buildings or other structures surrounded by walls, fences, checkpoints and other security measures. It also has numerous soft targets that lack a means of protecting themselves from terrorists.
The FBI met with D.C. retailers recently near the White House to tell them they need succession plans in case terrorists damage their property or hurt their businesses. A succession plan refers to a strategy for continuing to operate a business after catastrophic damage.
FBI and Homeland Security agents presented retailers with examples of Islamic State propaganda encouraging attacks on U.S. social spots.
After Islamic State militants in Paris last November bombed and shot patrons at a concert hall, a cafe and a soccer stadium, a propaganda video from the group showed a spokesman saying, By God, as we struck France at the center of its abode in Paris, then we swear we will strike America at its center in Washington.
A trend in Islamic militant attacks demonstrates the increased threat to soft targets such as restaurants and sports venues, according to the FBI.
Earlier Islamic militant attacks struck at political and military targets, such as the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole and the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack. As major cities responded with new security measures, terrorists started choosing softer targets.
The most recent example was the March 22 bombing of the main airport in Brussels, Belgium and a subway station that killed 32 people.
Now is the time Washington retailers should begin to worry, according to security experts. As warmer weather sets in, cafes are serving more patrons in sidewalk seating and more leisure activities move into areas open to the public.