“This is a time to be vigilant. We are in a dangerous period. There is no reason to panic, but we must remain cautious,” he emphasized.
The Chief of the Federal Bureau of Investigation noted that law enforcement agencies “cannot ignore the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization might exploit the current conflict to carry out attacks on American soil.”
“Our immediate concern is that violent extremists, whether individuals or small groups, will be motivated by the events in the Middle East and launch attacks against ordinary Americans in their daily lives.
“This not only includes homegrown violent extremists inspired by foreign terrorist organizations but also domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish or Muslim communities,” Wray added.
Wray highlighted the recent arrest in Houston of an individual who had been studying bomb-making and had made online threats against Jews. He also mentioned the case of a six-year-old Muslim boy who was killed in Illinois by his landlord, a crime being investigated as a hate crime.
“The ongoing war in the Middle East has elevated the threat of an attack against Americans within the United States,” Wray stated.
While Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and Hezbollah have all called for attacks on US interests, the FBI is not currently monitoring any imminent credible threats from foreign terrorist organizations, Wray clarified.
However, Wray emphasized that the threats against the Jewish community in the United States have reached “historic levels” in some way.
“The reality is that the Jewish community is targeted by practically every terrorist organization across the spectrum,” Wray remarked.
He further noted that Jews constitute only 2.4 percent of the American population but account for 60 percent of religious hate crimes.
In addition, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Christine Abizaid, informed the Senate committee that the United States is concerned about activities by Iran and Hezbollah in the Middle East that could have significant escalatory consequences.
Abizaid remarked that Iranian-aligned militant groups have carried out more than two dozen attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria using rockets and unmanned aerial systems. She also mentioned the daily attacks on Israel by Lebanese Hezbollah.
“Although these groups are capable of conducting more sophisticated attacks than they have demonstrated so far, we believe that Iran, Hezbollah, and their affiliated proxies are adjusting their actions to avoid a simultaneous front with the United States or Israel,” Abizaid explained.
“Walking this fine line is challenging, and given the current regional context, their actions carry the potential for miscalculation. Therefore, we must closely monitor the situation and remain vigilant for any signs of the conflict spreading,” she concluded.
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