Independence Hall guards armed, vigilant as 9/11 ceremony nears

On Sunday afternoon, Philadelphia’s Mayor Michael Nutter and other dignitaries will join at Independence Hall to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

All through the weekend, you may see more security guards around Independence National Historic Park, some carrying heavy weapons. On Friday, guards around the Department of Homeland Security offices at Seventh and Arch streets were seen carrying shotguns and rifles.

On Thursday, the DHS issued a statement saying intelligence indicates members of al-Qaida could be planning an attack in the New York or Washington area around the time of the 9/11 anniversary. They characterize the intelligence as credible but unconfirmed.

There are no threats–credible or otherwise–in the Philadelphia area, but security officials will, nevertheless, be on alert.

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“We are what’s considered an ‘icon park,’ ” said Frank Eidmann, acting public affairs officer for the Independence National Historic Park. “Our historical treasures are here. We take those threats seriously, and we’ll take appropriate measures to protect them.”

Federal, state, and city officials are in communication with one another–and with some security guards at area museums–to monitor possible threats.

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