Terror threat remains despite bin Laden's death: L.A. police chief

08:43, May 03, 2011      

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The United States still faces " significant threats" from terrorists despite the killing of al- Qaida's leader Osama bin Laden, Los Angeles Police Department ( LAPD) Chief Charlie Beck warned on Monday.

"Yesterday was a great day for America," Beck said at a news conference at the county Emergency Operations Center. "But while we savor that victory, we have to be ever mindful that taking away the leader does not remove the organization."

But he stressed that there were no specific threats of retaliation.

"We still face significant threats. But while there are no specific threats to Los Angeles, (there is) a general threat, and our obligation is to keep the city safe."

President Barack Obama announced Sunday night that bin Laden was killed by a U.S. special force in Pakistan.

While welcoming the news, Beck urged people to remain vigilant, saying people who see suspicious activity that doesn't "fit" in their neighborhoods -- or in their business dealings -- to alert ( 877) A-THREAT. However, if there is a crime in progress, people should call 911, Beck said.

"When you see something, you must say something," Beck said.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said that the Emergency Operations Center was staffed by representatives of numerous public safety organizations, including the LAPD, the sheriff's department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and fire departments.

"So, we are in a seamless agreement in practice with our federal, state, and local resources, in a large area involving a total of 14 million people, (and) that means Los Angeles County and Orange County," Baca said.

Security efforts were being beefed up at various public venues in Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles International Airport ( LAX) and Staples Center, which will play host to the opening game of the Los Angeles Lakers-Dallas Mavericks playoff series Monday night.

"While we don't have any direct threat as a result of recent events, we will continue to provide infrastructure protection and high visibility law enforcement and security protection to the many passengers who travel through the airport every day," said Airport Police Chief George R. Centeno.

"We will continue to monitor global events and stay in contact with our federal partners as the situation evolves through the next 24 to 48 hours," Centeno said.

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti said he had spoken with Beck Monday morning to focus on safety for the NBA playoffs, and to review procedures for various "hardened targets" such as Dodger Stadium, the port and the airport "and other places where people gather or which have been targets in the past."

"We want to make sure that we are safe here,'' Garcetti said.

American officials have warned the operation against the al- Qaida leader could lead to more terror threats against the United States.

The State Department has issued warnings to Americans traveling abroad in sensitive areas to limit their travels outside their homes and hotel.

Source: Xinhua
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