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Authorities warn terrorists may disguise as police during Pope visit

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Pope Francis will make his first visit to the United States this week and has been the source of much excitement. Despite the joy his visit brings, authorities are concerned with terrorist attacks against the Pope.

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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - NBC News reported law enforcement worries about terrorists impersonating authorities, such as police officers, EMTs or firefighters in an attempt to attack Pope Francis.

The Pennsylvania State Police's Criminal Intelligence Center sent a memo to law enforcement, warning impostors could use fake IDs to breach secure areas.

"The impersonators' main goals are to further their attack plan and do harm to unsuspecting citizens as well as members of the emergency services community," the bulletin, titled First Responder Impersonators: The New Terrorist Threat, said.


The report included instances where suspects wore uniforms to attack and was partially based on Homeland Security and FBI reports.

Some attack attempts have already been prevented, but it would be best to stay on guard while Pope Francis is near.

In March, authorities stopped Army National Guard soldier Hasan Edmonds and his cousin, who tried to kill people at a U.S. military installation in Illinois. They wore uniforms in an attempt to sneak around undetected, but were caught.

Federal authorities explained the men wanted to fight for ISIS and were charged with conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

In April, 24-year-old Algerian national and ISIS sympathizer Sid Ahmed Ghlam attempted to attack a church in Southern France, but was stopped by French Authorities. He had weapons, bullet-proof vests and notes detailing his targets and was also in possession of police armbands.

The bulletin warned that terrorists can simply enter a shop at "numerous businesses that cater to the needs of first-responder personnel ... A wide variety of products such as clothing, weapons and tactical gear can be purchased on the Internet by any consumer, regardless of a confirmed affiliation to emergency services, government or law enforcement agency."

To prevent terrorists from entering undetected, authorities will be paying close attention to the theft of first-responder uniforms and credentials, emergency vehicle in poor condition or those that are overloaded and for "personnel with appropriate uniforms/vehicles in unapproved areas with no reasonable explanation."

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