WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Hamas’ attack on Israel will pose the most significant terrorist threat to the United States since the rise of ISIS nearly a decade ago, the FBI director said on Tuesday. Christopher Wray, during a congressional hearing.
Wray said that since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza began earlier this month, several foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West, increasing the threat posed by American violent extremists.
“The actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration the likes of which we have not seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate several years ago,” Wray said.
The remarks were made during a hearing before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee focused on threats to the United States. The American government saw an increase in threats against Jews, Muslims and Arab Americans since the fighting began in Gaza, officials said.
Number of attacks Attacks on U.S. military bases overseas by Iranian-backed militias have increased this month, Wray said. Cyberattacks against the United States by Iran and non-state actors will likely worsen if the conflict expands, he said.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
During the hearing, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said hatred directed toward Jewish students in the United States after the start of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza contributed to an increase in anti-Semitism .
The White House alarm expressed this week following reports of anti-Jewish incidents at US universities, with tensions prompting university officials to step up security.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley questioned Mayorkas about why a U.S. asylum officer who allegedly posted anti-Israel messages on social media was placed on leave but not fired, saying the employee “ celebrated the genocide.
Mayorkas said it was “despicable” to suggest that these messages reflected the views of employees of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), noting that his own mother was a Holocaust survivor.
At a White House ransomware summit on Tuesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he had asked the Justice Department to help Israeli investigators probe financial flows to Hamas, including those involving cryptocurrencies.
Ted Hesson reports from Washington; Additional reporting by Doina Chiacu and Andrew Goudsward in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Jonathan Oatis and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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