Picture courtesy of New York Daily News
As social media lit up with filters of the colors of the flag of France and hashtags of #PrayForParis on Nov. 16, a group of militants, allegedly with Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), released a video. In the video, the group claimed credit for the terror attacks in Paris and threatened to attack Washington D.C., as well as other countries in Europe. The authenticity of the video has not yet been verified.
Though the video has yet to be confirmed, security is increasing in many locations around the United States. For example, there is now heavy police presence in Times Square and the US Capitol Police sent out a security awareness reminder to congressional offices.
Some students feel that the attacks warrant a feeling of unease.
“I think that it is a legitimate concern and I believe that it could possibly happen,” sophomore Emily Quan said. “I’m actually kind of scared now that I know that they could attack, especially since we’re so close to Washington.”
However, other students are not as fearful of ISIS’ threat.
“Yeah, I feel threatened, but maybe not as much as other people,” sophomore Meghan Sivakumar said. “I just have this feeling that even if they do something, it’s not going to be as bad as Paris. I do feel a tad bit threatened for the government and people that actually live in Washington D.C.”
ISIS also released a “kill list” in March which listed 56 towns and cities, six of which are in Virginia, that they were targeting. However, none of the towns or cities listed have yet been attacked.
“I think their message is a little sensationalist and they’re trying to both increase their publicity to further their viewpoint while also trying to scare the US into either attacking them so they can recruit more people, or backing off,” senior Kaushik Venkatesh said. “I think it’s almost the same thing as the ‘kill list’, especially because the group isn’t necessarily that strong and there aren’t that many of them, so it seems like it’s more to provoke fear than an actual threat.”