The FBI has observed an escalation in threats within the United States since the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray and senior FBI officials.
During a rare phone briefing for reporters on Sunday, Wray emphasized that the threat remains ongoing and has the potential to evolve further.
Wray noted that Hamas or other foreign terrorist organizations could attempt to exploit the ongoing conflict to incite their supporters to carry out attacks on American soil. As a result, both Jewish and Muslim communities, along with their respective institutions and places of worship, have faced threats in the U.S. To address these threats, Wray explained that the FBI is taking rapid measures.
In an address to the International Association of Chiefs of Police on Saturday, Wray highlighted the increase in reported threats and specifically emphasized the need for vigilance regarding potential lone actors who may be inspired by recent events to commit acts of violence.
He urged police chiefs to stay vigilant and emphasized the vital role of first responders in identifying signs of individuals mobilizing for violence.
Although senior FBI officials pointed out that most of the threats are not credible and have been addressed, their primary concern is lone wolf-style attackers who may not be on the FBI’s radar. The FBI encourages the public to provide tips as the best way to address these types of threats.
Wray noted that there have been threats against Muslim facilities as well as Jewish facilities, with threats against Muslim centers on the rise while antisemitic threats are also increasing.
The FBI is actively working to mitigate these threats and ensure the safety of these communities through Joint Terrorism Task Forces. Wray stressed the FBI’s commitment to countering terrorism and violence motivated by hate and extremism, making it their top priority.
In response to the ongoing crisis, Wray mentioned that the FBI’s legal attaché office in Tel Aviv is collaborating with Israeli and U.S. Embassy partners to locate and identify all impacted Americans in the region, including those who remain unaccounted for. Additionally, victim services specialists are offering support to victims and their families both domestically and abroad. The FBI is actively engaged in addressing these security concerns related to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
The rising threats in the U.S. serve as a concerning backdrop to the evolving situation in the Middle East, with security agencies focusing on maintaining domestic security amid international tensions.
These security concerns within the United States are part of the broader challenges faced by U.S. law enforcement and security agencies, as they must balance the country’s commitment to free expression and peaceful protest while also addressing credible threats and ensuring the safety and security of American citizens.