NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The NYPD has increased security at the Israeli consulate, synagogues and other Jewish cultural institutions throughout the city.
The rising tensions between Israel and Iran have prompted the security increase in our area. Heavily armed police and bomb sniffing dogs were posted outside the Israeli consulate on Manhattan's East Side. CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez reported seeing police cars, heavily-armed officers and K-9 units outside the consulate on Friday.
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White House officials believe Israel may be planning an attack on Iran's nuclear program as early as this Spring. Should they strike, Iran has vowed to retaliate against Israel and its U.S. interests.
Israeli governmental buildings and Jewish soft targets like synagogues and community centers have been placed on high alert.
"Unfortunately, the Iranians don't like Israel and they don't like the United States, so we become right at the top of their list in terms of targets," security expert Bob Strang said.
The NYPD said it is increasing security at synagogues and other Jewish institutions after talks between Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Israeli officials about a possible Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran.
"We know that the Iranians have the capability in Washington, New York, Los Angeles. They're capable of actually committing a crime here -- whether it be murder, whether it be activating some type of terrorist attack," Strang said.
"CBS This Morning" Senior Correspondent John Miller said Iran's threat is very real. Security sources said that on three separate occasions -- in 2002, 2003 and 2004 -- suspected Iranian intelligence agents were caught in New York City conducting surveillance on landmarks and critical infrastructures looking for potential targets.
"Riding the number 7 train and filming out the front window of the train, so that they could document the path of the tunnel that runs under the United Nations' building. Of course, they said they were tourists and they were just taking pictures, but it was 1 o'clock in the morning. They were suspected agents of the Iranian intelligence apparatus," Miller said.
Since then, the NYPD said it has been closely monitoring the conflict between Israel and Iran.
"That is part of what has the New York Police Department raised up on alert now. They know about those instances and there are probably other instances of surveillance and planning that they don't know about," Miller said.
There has been no specific threat made against institutions in our area, but police are warning officers and residents to stay extra vigilant just in case.
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