FBI Director Christopher Wray has expressed his concerns to US lawmakers regarding the increased risk of terrorist plots on American soil inspired by Hamas’ attacks on Israel. Speaking before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Wray stated that the actions of Hamas and its allies could serve as an inspiration similar to the rise of ISIS in the past. He further highlighted that multiple foreign terrorist organizations have recently called for attacks against Americans and the West.
Wray’s remarks came as Israeli forces escalated their operations in response to the October 7 attacks by Hamas militants. These attacks, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,400 people, including 50 Palestinians in an Israeli airstrike, have led to a deteriorating situation in the region. Against this backdrop, Wray warned that American citizens could be at an increased risk of being targeted by individuals or groups sympathetic to Hamas.
One of the primary concerns identified by Wray is the potential for retaliatory attacks against US interests due to Washington’s support of Israel. Over the past two weeks, there have been 27 drone and rocket attacks on US military bases in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon attributes these attacks to militias sponsored by Iran, which provides financial and political support to Hamas.
Wray emphasized that the most immediate concern within the US is the possibility of violent extremists drawing inspiration from events in the Middle East and carrying out attacks against Americans. He noted that the terrorism threat has remained elevated throughout 2023, but the ongoing conflict in the Middle East has raised the threat level for potential attacks on US soil. While the FBI does not currently have evidence of Hamas planning operations within the US, Wray acknowledged that the agency cannot rule out the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization might exploit the war to target American sites.
The FBI is currently conducting ongoing investigations into individuals affiliated with Hamas who are based in the US. These individuals have historically been involved in facilitating or financing the group’s operations overseas. However, the agency is now considering how the threat may evolve to include attacks within the US.
Republican lawmakers, including Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas, have raised concerns about the Biden administration’s border security failures and the potential risks they pose to American citizens. In the previous fiscal year, US Border Patrol encountered 172 individuals flagged on the nation’s terrorist watch list, a stark increase compared to the three encounters during former President Donald Trump’s last full fiscal year in office.
In conclusion, FBI Director Christopher Wray’s warning to US lawmakers highlights the heightened risk of terrorist plots targeting Americans due to Hamas’ attacks on Israel. The ongoing conflict in the Middle East has raised concerns about potential attacks on US soil, prompting the FBI to conduct ongoing investigations into individuals affiliated with Hamas. The need for heightened security measures is imperative to ensure the safety of American citizens.