The FBI issued an alert on Tuesday, cautioning Americans about the potential for violence by lone actors during this year’s holiday season. The warning comes amid heightened tensions stemming from the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.
A joint public service announcement from the FBI, DHS, and National Counterterrorism Center said the increased risk of “the threat of lone actor violence targeting large public gatherings throughout the winter” should be taken seriously by the American public.
The FBI cautioned that during the holidays, substantial gatherings might become a
“convenient target” for individuals motivated to commit acts of violence. They suggested that this is especially true for populations identifying as Jewish, Christian or Muslim, including Arabs.
The advisory reads, “Calls for violence may increase in the days leading up to the holidays and before other notable events this winter. 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.”
After Hamas’s unexpected attack on Israel on October 7, that claimed over 1,200 lives, the FBI warned of possible escalations in “potential hate crimes or other criminal violations.”
The current advisory noted that there has been a significant surge in shootings and false bomb threats against synagogues nationwide.
FBI Director Warns Americans to Prepare for Hamas Terror Attack https://t.co/WdC5Spwqlb
— FFT1776™ (@FFT1776) November 1, 2023
FBI Director Christopher Wray did clarify that there was no “specific plotting activity” behind the warning. He then warned how multiple targets could “likely remain attractive to lone actors.”
Wray said since the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the FBI has investigated as much as a 60% increase in hate crimes across the nation. Many of these have been targeted toward the Jewish community.
Wray also warned about increased calls for violence against the United States as a whole. He said the FBI has heightened its efforts to thwart potential attacks that could be driven by support for Hamas.
In a statement made during his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Wray said, “Given the steady drumbeat of calls for attacks by foreign terrorist organizations since Oct. 7, we’re working around the clock to identify and disrupt potential attacks by those inspired by Hamas’s horrific terrorist attacks in Israel.”