The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint statement Tuesday asking Americans to be vigilant during the Christmas season as they warned the threat of potential terrorism threats on U.S. soil.
Citing the ongoing war against terror in Israel following Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks against the country’s citizens, the federal government warned extremists could be inspired to commit acts of violence stateside.
The warning did not cite any specific threat nor did it mention the crisis at the country’s southern border.
But the FBI said gatherings throughout the holidays could be vulnerable.
The public service announcement stated, “FBI, DHS, and [the National Counterterrorism Center] assess that ongoing tensions related to the conflict between Israel and HAMAS likely heighten the threat of lone actor violence targeting large public gatherings throughout the winter, including holiday-related, faith-based, New Year’s Eve, and First Amendment protected events related to the conflict.
“Although this announcement is not in response to any specific plotting activity, these targets likely remain attractive to lone actors inspired by a range of ideologies due to their accessibility and symbolic nature.”
The FBI said that Jewish Americans might be vulnerable, citing a rise in anti-Semitism since October.
But the agency also said any number of religious communities could be targeted by violence.
“Lone actors may seek to disrupt or escalate violence at large gatherings, high profile events, or symbolic or religious locations throughout the winter,” the FBI warned. “Such gatherings could become a convenient target for those inspired to commit violence against Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Arab communities.”
The warning also cited a growing number of “hoax” threats, such as those that affected public schools in Maryland, Oregon and Texas this week and last week.
Those hoaxes, the FBI said, are likely intended to be disruptive and to intimidate people.
“Calls for violence may increase in the days leading up to the holidays and before other notable events this winter,” the warning said.
It continued: “Factors that could further exacerbate the threat of violence include escalations in the conflict between Israel and Hamas and notable instances of violence in the Homeland inspiring copycat or retaliatory attacks. We therefore urge everyone to remain vigilant and to report any threats of violence or suspicious activity to law enforcement.”
Americans who see anything suspicious should call their local FBI field office or dial 9-1-1 if they feel there is “an immediate threat to life.”
The warning follows a number of statements from FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent months warning of a high likelihood of violence on American soil.
The FBI is warning terror threats are up to unprecedented levels since Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.
“I’ve never seen a time where all threats, or so many of the threats, are all elevated, all at exactly the same time,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told senators Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/R4amhXiM0z
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) December 6, 2023
“I’ve never seen a time where all the threats, or so many of the threats, are all elevated all at exactly the same time,” Wray told lawmakers in Washington last week, CBS News reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.