FBI Director Christopher Wray said U.S. intelligence assessments signal groups could be inspired by attacks coming out of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, which has the potential to raise the risk of terror on targets including those connected to U.S. interests.
Wray said on Tuesday, "We assess that 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 years ago."
While the FBI says it doesn't have its focus set on a specific "organized" threat that would be situated on U.S. soil, Director Wray said there are concerns in law enforcement that the terror risk could spike if smaller groups become motivated to act based on the conflict in the Middle East.
Wray told a U.S. Senate committee, "It is a time to be concerned. We are in a dangerous period."
The FBI director told senators that several foreign terrorist groups have already called for attacks against Americans since the Oct. 7 assault by Hamas on Israel.
Cyber targets are also a concern for the FBI as groups could escalate efforts to attack U.S. infrastructure online and other web-connected interests.
Wray said, "We shouldn’t stop going out but should be vigilant."
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg urged calm among groups that could escalate the current situation, saying that it is vital that "this war does not escalate into a major regional conflict."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected calls for a cease-fire.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during a discussion at Baker Institute’s 30th anniversary that "People who are calling for cease-fire now, do not understand Hamas." Clinton argued that the group could rebuild their armaments during a cease-fire, potentially prolonging the conflict.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday it was tracking six additional small-scale attacks in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 26, bringing the total number of attacks to at least 27. The U.S. is deploying an additional 300 troops to the region — not specifically to Israel — to further protect and deter conflict, the Pentagon said.
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