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FBI warns of ISIS plan to attack Memphis bridge over Mississippi River

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-23 17:50:58-05

The FBI has received an anonymous, "unspecific'' tip that the Islamic terrorist organization ISIS wants to damage or destroy one of the Mississippi River bridges that connects Memphis, Tennessee to Arkansas.

But the threat had "no actual intelligence related" to it, said special agent V.O. Little of the Memphis FBI office to the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.

"At this point there's no actionable intelligence that we could go out and follow-up on," he said.

Still, the FBI gave the information to local law enforcement agencies, suggesting that officers assigned to areas around the bridges keep an eye on the spans. Citizens crossing the bridges are also asked to watch for any suspicious activities.

"We felt it was appropriate – and we take all threats seriously – to at least alert local law enforcement,'' Little said. "And encourage people to be vigilant; if they see anything suspicious, to alert law enforcement."

The threat was so vague that it is unclear if it refers to I-55's older Memphis & Arkansas Bridge or I-40's newer Hernando DeSoto Bridge, Little said.

Both bridges carry citizens and considerable commercial traffic across the river on major east-west and north-south interstate highways. Both roads remain open, but highway officials have been reviewing plans for rerouting traffic.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management said the threat had not reached a level requiring it to put anyone on stand-by. Spokesman Rick Fahr said threats that include specifics are rare.