Another year is drawing to a close and with it, we experience another surge of terror threats and warnings.
Starting late last week, the House Homeland Security Committee released the December Terror Threat Snapshot within which American citizens are warned that the United States faces its highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11, and much of the threat now stems from individuals who have been radicalized at home.
There have been at least 131 ISIS-linked plots to attack Western targets since 2014, including
40 ISIS-linked plots inside the United States. In 2015-16, the U.S. has seen 115 cases launched against homegrown jihadists in some stage of attack plotting or support. The report goes onto say that a shift in ISIS messaging — from joining the jihad in Syria and Iraq to carrying out attacks in fighters’ home countries — is likely to accelerate this trend.
Readers are reminded that FBI Director James Comey estimated in June 2016 that around 80 percent of the Bureau's more than 1,000 active homegrown terror investigations spread across all 50 states are linked to the Islamic State.
ISIS continued to carry out strikes against Western targets in 2016:
62 attacks, wounding 732 and killing 215 in places like the U.S., France, and Belgium.
The report indicates the threat to Europe and the United States will persist in 2017, particularly as jihadists flee from Middle Eastern battlefields. Terror groups will also continue to rely on refugee programs, porous borders, and well known migration routes to gain access to various countries throughout the West.
Europol estimates that nearly 2,000 European fighters have already returned home from Syria and Iraq.
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) has identified “…individuals with ties to terrorist groups in Syria attempting to gain entry to the U.S. through the U.S. refugee program.” During the past fiscal year alone, the Obama administration has resettled nearly 13,000 Syrian refugees in the United States, despite the fact that American law enforcement and intelligence officials have repeatedly indicated that the U.S. lacks reliable and credible intelligence to properly vet and screen these individuals.
Other refugee programs in the U.S. also pose a risk, such as that in place for Somalia. As previously reported by AlertsUSA, the key suspect in the recent attack on the campus of Ohio State University was a Somali refugee.
Islamic State Threatens Christians
The Islamic State this week issued a formal threat against Christians following last Sunday's bombing of the Coptic Christian St. Peter’s church in Cairo which killed 25. Within the warning message, the Islamic State proclaims they will be escalating their “war on polytheism.”
“Let all the disbelievers and apostates in Egypt and everywhere know that our war on polytheism is ongoing, and that the State of the Caliphate – with permission from Allah the Almighty – will continue to spill their blood and grill their bodies, so that there is no sedition and the religion is all for Allah.”
AlertsUSA cautions church leaders and security personnel, regardless of location, that with the approach of the high Christian and Jewish holidays, now is the time to gather your teams to revisit and update your security protocols.
UK: Terror arrests made after 'significant plot is disrupted'
Germany: 12-year-old attempted to bomb Christmas market
France: 10,000 troops on streets as ISIS threatens Christmas massacres
Russia says has thwarted Islamic State attacks
Islamic State terrorists 'hiding in plain sight among migrants'
Istanbul explosions: 38 killed, 155 wounded in twin blasts
AlertsUSA continues to monitor the overall domestic and international threat environment and will immediately notify service subscribers via SMS messages of new alerts, warnings and advisories or any developments which signal a change the overall threat picture for American citizens as events warrant.