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Sand Trucks to Secure Times Square on New Year’s Eve | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Members of the New York Police Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau patrol Times Square in the lead up to New Year’s celebrations in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. December 29, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

WASHINGTON- New York City’s iconic New Year’s Eve celebration will be surrounded by sanitation vehicles to stop truck-driving attackers like those in Germany and France. As many as 2 million people are expected to gather on Saturday to welcome the new year.

Authorities said on Thursday they were aware of no credible threat to the annual festivities at the famed Manhattan crossroads.

The 65 garbage collection and sand trucks along Times Square’s perimeter are meant to stop would-be assailants from plowing trucks into the crowd of 1 million people. Even so, officials redoubled efforts to prevent attacks like those in Germany and France this year in which suspected extremist ISIS militants intentionally drove trucks into holiday crowds, killing dozens of civilians.

New York Police Department Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez said Thursday that 100 patrol cars also will be used as blocker vehicles.

More than 80 sand trucks were used to protect the Macy’s 90th Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York after ISIS militants abroad encouraged their followers to target the event, which drew an estimated 3.5 million people to the streets of the largest U.S. city.

A Dec. 19 attack in Berlin killed 12 people. A July 14 attack in Nice, France, killed 86. New York police say they’ll deploy 7,000 officers, bomb-sniffing dogs and heavily armed counterterrorism units.

Officers also will make sweeps of area hotels, theaters and parking garages and monitor checkpoints where they scan for radiation and weapons, police said.

All told, the New York Police Department has assigned nearly 7,000 police to Times Square and throughout the rest of the city on Saturday, officials said.