Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director Christopher Wray advised Congressional lawmakers on Wednesday night that federal legislation enforcement officers have opened numerous investigations into people “affiliated” with Hamas within the wake of the Palestinian terror group’s unprecedented assault on Israel final month.
However, Wray famous that the bureau has not seen proof of any particular menace it considers credible.
Wray, talking earlier than the House Homeland Security Committee, stated the FBI is targeted on “homegrown violent extremists” which can be sympathetic to terror organizations akin to Hamas, alongside with “domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish Americans or other faith communities.”
In his open remarks obtained by CBS News, Wray acknowledged:
In a 12 months the place the terrorism menace was already elevated, the continued battle within the Middle East has raised the specter of an assault in opposition to Americans within the United States to an entire ‘nother level. Since October 7, we’ve seen a rogue’s gallery of overseas terrorist organizations name for assaults in opposition to Americans and our allies.
“Given those calls for action,” he continued, “our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home.”
Wray testified with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Christine Abizaid, who serves as director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
The FBI chief warned in October of the opportunity of a lone-wolf type assault on United States soil–a menace which has been heightened following Hamas’s name for Muslims worldwide to stage a “Day of Jihad,” or holy battle.
In October a Jordanian nationwide was reportedly arrested in Houston, Texas, on a federal firearm possession cost and was allegedly “plotting to attack a Jewish gathering.”
CNN reported on the time:
Sohaib Abuayyash, 20, who’s within the United States on an expired nonimmigrant visa, made “statements to others that support the killing of individuals of particular religious faiths,” and “referenced an event in Houston for members of a particular religious group,” in line with a federal courtroom decide who ordered the person be detained pending trial.
The affidavit additionally says Abuayyash “has been in direct contact with others who share a radical mindset, has been conducting physical training, and has trained with weapons to possibly commit an attack.”
But in an order of detention pending trial doc filed on October 24, US Magistrate Judge Christina A. Bryan wrote that Abuayyash “has viewed specific and detailed content posted by radical organizations on the internet including lessons on how to construct bombs or explosive devices; and that Defendant has made statements to others that support the killing of individuals of particular religious faiths.”
Wray, testifying in November earlier than the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, alluded to Abuayyash’s arrest, although the highest legislation enforcement official didn’t point out him by identify.
“The reality is that the terrorism threat has been elevated throughout 2023, but the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole other level,” Wray advised senators on the time.
“Here in the United States, our most immediate concern is that violent extremists — individuals or small groups — will draw inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks against Americans going about their daily lives,” Wray added.
That consists of not simply homegrown violent extremists impressed by a overseas terrorist group but additionally home violent extremists concentrating on Jewish or Muslim communities. We’ve seen that already with the particular person we arrested final week in Houston who’d been finding out how one can construct bombs and posted on-line about his help for killing Jews.
In an announcement to CNN, an FBI Houston area workplace confirmed that Wray was referring to Abuayyash in his remarks.