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FBI director warns of jihadist attack in US, similar to Russian concert hall: ‘Heightened terrorist threat’

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FBI Director Christopher Wray told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday that there is an increasing concern of a potential coordinated attack in the U.S., similar to the Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) attack in March at a concert hall in Russia.

Wray met with the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies to make his case on the department’s request of $11.3 billion for FY25, or $661 million more than last year.

He told members of the subcommittee that when he met with them last year, he walked them through how the U.S. was already in a heightened threat environment, and since then, threats from foreign terrorists have risen to another level.

‘Just in the time that I’ve been FBI director, we’ve disrupted multiple terrorist attacks and cities and communities around the country. We need funding to continue protecting America from terrorism,’ he said.

Wray continued, saying since Oct. 7, the FBI has seen a ‘rogues’ gallery’ of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks on the U.S. and its allies.

‘Given those calls for action, our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw a twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home,’ he said. ‘But now, on top of that, increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, not unlike the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russian concert hall back in March.’

On March 22, Moscow’s Crocus City concert hall was attacked by terrorists, leaving 137 people dead and over 180 wounded. The gunmen who conducted the attack were identified by Russian media as Tajik nationals. After walking in with automatic weapons, the terrorists indiscriminately opened fire on the 6,200-seat venue.

Wray also spoke about an elevated threat to the Jewish community in the U.S., which was already in place before Oct. 7, but has increased since.

He said the increase in hate crimes significantly increased by 60% in the first four months after Oct. 7.

Though not all the hate crimes targeted the Jewish community — some targeted Muslim-Americans, Arab-Americans and others — the vast majority did target Jews, Wray explained.

‘They are targeted by foreign jihadist inspired terrorists, whether it’s ISIS, al Qaeda or others,’ the FBI director said. ‘They’re targeted by Shia terrorists, Iran and its proxies. They’re targeted by domestic violent extremists, you know, white supremacists and others, as well as anarchists and some of the folks who are, you know, pro-Palestinian and so forth.

‘So, they have the tragic distinction of really being targeted by almost every type of terrorist organization there is out there, foreign and domestic, across the spectrum,’ Wray continued. ‘And so, they desperately need our help, and we’re going to give it to them.’

But in terms of the budget, Wray told the subcommittee if Congress cuts the budget, it will have ‘very significant’ consequences.

He told the lawmakers the FBI would not be able to fill about 1,000 positions, which means the work the agency is doing to protect people from terrorism would fall short.

‘That’s fewer tips and leads followed; fewer terrorist attacks detected. That’s a significant concern in a heightened terrorist threat environment,’ Wray said. ‘It helps out the terrorists, the cartels, the violent gangs, the Chinese government, the hackers, the child predators. I can go on and on.’

Wray was asked how the FBI prioritizes its resources to be able to protect communities from the various threats, and he pinpointed one major concern that drives all prioritization.

‘Terrorism, which includes both foreign terrorism and domestic terrorism, remains our number one priority,’ Wray said.

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