After Osama, New York on high alert

Police patrol at Ground Zero yesterday, where New Yorkers hung flowers and American flags.

New York slept soundly Sunday night after an evening of revelry upon news of Osama bin Laden’s death. But yesterday, citizens woke to a city on edge, bracing for a possible retaliation attack from those loyal to the terrorist mastermind.

And an attack could come at any minute, warned officials.

“Our assumption is that bin Laden’s disciples would like nothing better than to avenge his death by another attack in New York,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, speaking from the bedrock of Ground Zero.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo put the state on high alert yesterday.

On the subways, expect increased bag checks, K-9 units and heavy weapons teams, said MTA Chairman Jay Walder.

Commissioner Kelly warned that the city’s most “iconic” and vulnerable sites would receive special monitoring, like Times Square, bridges, ferries and water taxis.

“A lot of what we’re doing is not visible to the public,” said Kelly. For example, NYPD linguists are monitoring Internet chat rooms.

And New Yorkers, while pleased with bin Laden’s death, know the war against terror is far from over.

“His death doesn’t mean the end of terrorism,” said analyst Joseph Petrino, 24. “Someone’s going to replace him.”

Metro question

Metro asks family members of those who died on 9/11: What is your
reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden?

Rosemary Cain, whose firefighter son George was killed on 9/11
“It woke me up. It took me a while to process it. I was sunned. I
started to cry. It’s sinking in. The first thing I felt was gratitude.
He’s at the bottom of the ocean and so be it. As long as he’s dead.”

Maureen Santora, whose son Christopher, a downtown firefighter, died on 9/11
“I’m delighted that he was caught. (Christopher) is having a great time
up in heaven today. I knew he would be caught. If you have enough
patience and live long enough, these things happen.”

Rosaleen Tallon, whose brother Sean, a firefighter, died in the North Tower
“I was glad that this mission was successfully accomplished. I am
relieved that bin Laden has been taken care of. But getting rid of Osama
bin Laden isn’t getting rid of terror.”

Joyce Mercer, whose son Scott was killed in the South Tower
“I was shocked, but I was so pleased to hear that that monster was dead.
My husband and I are going to go down to Ground Zero and say a prayer
of thanks.”

Talat Hamdani, a Pakistani Muslim immigrant whose son, Salman Mohammed
Hamdani, was an NYPD cadet who died in 9/11
“What I felt, it was not happiness, it was relief, because the hunt was
on for him in the past ten years. This brings closure.”


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