At a Glance | November 27

Bomb Threats at NJ Schools Increase Due to ‘Swatting’

Propelled by “swatting” incidents, New Jersey schools reported 62 bomb threats in the 2015-16 school year, up from 39 in 2014-15, according to the state Department of Education. This mirrored a national and worldwide trend. US schools experienced 1,267 bomb threats in 2015-16, more than double the number seen in 2012-13, according to an analysis by the Educator’s School Safety Network, a non-profit group. Nearly all bomb threats are hoaxes. But in 1996, authorities charged two students with detonating a bomb in a Palisades Park High School bathroom. No one was injured. Under guidelines from the NJ Department of Education and the NJ Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, every school must conduct at least two of these drills annually: active shooter, evacuation, bomb threat and lockdown. Security information for NJ schools can be found here.


NJ Suspect in Deadly NYC Truck-Ramming Attack Accused of Supporting ISIS

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A federal indictment charged a New Jersey man with eight murder counts and providing material support to ISIS in connection with the truck-ramming attack along a Manhattan bicycle path. Sayfullo Saipov, 29, of Paterson, also faces 12 counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering in the indictment, handed up November 21. Prosecutors could seek the death penalty on several counts. A police officer shot Saipov after his rented pickup crashed into a school bus on October 31 (photo). Saipov told investigators he was inspired to attack after watching a video of the ISIS leader asking “what Muslims in the United States and elsewhere were doing to respond to the killing of Muslims in Iraq.” ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, and authorities recovered a note from the truck, claiming Saipov acted on behalf of ISIS. ISIS promoted the use of vehicles for assaults in the November 2016 edition of its English-language magazine Rumiyah. NJOHSP assesses that terrorists—particularly homegrown violent extremists (HVEs)—will likely continue using vehicles as weapons based on foreign terrorist organizations promoting this tactic, the success of past attacks, and the ease of vehicle acquisition.


Dozens With ISIS Flag Assault Sufi Mosque in Egypt and Kill 305  

ISIS militants killed 305 worshippers and wounded 128 at an Egyptian mosque in a multi-pronged attack November 24. Authorities said 25 to 30 men in combat uniforms, armed with machine guns, arrived in five SUVs and surrounded the al Rawdah Sufi mosque in the Sinai Peninsula. At least one carried an ISIS flag, a prosecutor said. The assailants exploded a bomb at the end of Friday prayers and then began firing at fleeing congregants, witnesses said. The attackers also shot at ambulances and set fire to cars to block roads. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that some jihadists consider heretical. ISIS warned village leaders to halt collaboration with security forces and the Sufi rituals. The toll made it the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s modern history. Egypt retaliated by bombing vehicles believed to be used in the assault.


For more information, please contact NJOHSP's Analysis Bureau at analysis@njohsp.gov or 609-584-4000.