US may face most ‘significant’ terror threat since rise of ISIS inspired by recent Hamas attacks, warns FBI chief
The Hamas attack on Israel has inspired foreign terrorist organizations to call for attacks against Americans and the West, says FBI director Christopher Wray.
The FBI director, Christopher Wray, warned on Tuesday that the US faces the most serious terror threat since the rise of Islamic State (IS) nearly 10 years ago, as a result of the Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October.
Wray told a congressional hearing in Washington that the Hamas assault, which killed more than 1,400 people in southern Israel and took over 200 hostages, has inspired multiple foreign terrorist organizations to call for attacks against Americans and the West. He said that this has also increased the risk of homegrown US violent extremists.
“The actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration the likes of which we haven’t seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate several years ago,” Wray said.
Israel has responded to the Hamas attack with a massive air and ground campaign in Gaza, where Hamas is based. The Israeli military has killed more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians, including thousands of children. It has also blocked the entry of essential supplies such as food, water, medicine, and fuel into Gaza.
The US Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee convened a hearing centered on discussing potential threats to the United States.
Wray said that the State Department has seen a rise in threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab Americans since the conflict in Gaza began. He also said that Iran-backed militia groups have increased their attacks on US military bases overseas this month. Iran supports Hamas and Hezbollah, another anti-Israeli group in Lebanon, on Israel’s northern border.
Wray said that cyber-attacks against the US by Iran and non-state actors could escalate if the conflict expands.
At the hearing, testimony was given by Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security. He said that Jewish students in the US have faced hate following the crisis in the Middle East, adding to a rise in antisemitism.
The White House has also expressed concern about this issue.
The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has instructed the US Justice Department to help Israeli investigators track financial flows to Hamas.