PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Federal authorities are warning local law enforcement across the country Friday night about a threat by ISIS calling for attacks on churches and other holiday gathering sites.
The warning comes just days after an attack at a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12 people.
Kelly Lambert is one of many people out in downtown Pittsburgh on Friday night who says she’s going to go out despite ISIS’s call for attacks on holiday gatherings and churches.
“I’m not gonna let them scare me into not going places,” she said.
The FBI said it doesn’t believe the threat to be credible, and it’s warning is out of an abundance of caution. Its asking local law enforcement to be extra vigilant over the holidays, especially at places of worship and other holiday gathering sites.
“For me, it’s live your life as you normally do,” Morgan O’Brien, of Pittsburgh, said. “There’s so much excitement down here and so much life and people having good times. It feels like the attitude we should all have.”
Federal authorities issued a bulletin Friday to law enforcement agencies and private security companies around the U.S., including the Penn Hills Police Department.
“They sent out a bulletin to all the local police departments, basically as a reminder that it’s the holiday season and things happen at that time, and they told us to be alert,” Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton said.
Burton says folks shouldn’t panic, just be aware.
“Pay attention around you,” he said. “As the old saying is, if it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t right. If you see something, say something. Let your local law enforcement know.”
The warning came after pro-ISIS websites published a list of churches across the country.
A spokesperson with the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh says they have yet to hear from the FBI.
“It’s upsetting, but I’m gonna be there. I’m gonna be in my church. I’m not going to let it affect me,” Karen Sakuluk, of New Kensington, said.
“If they’re trying to get us to give in to the enemy about things, this shouldn’t happen. This is supposed to be a joyous time of year. We should be celebrating,” Robert Gatling, of Washington, Pa., said.
The FBI in Pittsburgh says it’s working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies should there be any potential threat to public safety. It’s also encouraging people to report any suspicious activity.