Iran using 'ISIS and Al Qaeda' tactics to inspire terror in the US
EXCLUSIVE: Iran deploying tactics from ‘ISIS and Al Qaeda playbook’ to inspire TERROR ATTACKS in the US – amid heightened risk from lone wolf actors sympathetic to Hamas and Hezbollah, security experts warn
- The US faces a heightened risk of lone wolf terror attacks by ‘extremist jihadists’ seeking to capitalize on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, experts warn
- Iran, which funds Hamas and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, is also ‘inspiring people to carry out plots on their own’
- The warnings come after the FBI and Department of Homeland Security said the risk of terror attacks on US soil has increased
Iran is deploying tactics from the ‘ISIS and Al Qaeda playbook’ to inspire terror attacks in the United States amid a heightened risk from lone wolf actors sympathetic to Hamas and other extremist groups, according to security experts.
America has been placed on high alert by officials after Hamas attacked Israel and experts told DailyMail.com ‘extremist jihadists’ may seek to capitalize on the conflict by staging attacks.
Iran, which funds Hamas, is also ‘inspiring people to carry out plots on their own’. The claim comes after research found Hezbollah, which is a proxy of Iran and has increased its attacks on Israel in recent weeks, has tried to develop ‘the capacity and capability to plot attacks on U.S. soil’.
FBI director Christopher Wray warned last week that ‘Hamas or other foreign terrorist organizations could exploit the conflict to call on their supporters to conduct attacks on our own soil’.
The Department of Homeland Security has also said that ‘targeted violent attacks may increase as the conflict progresses’. DHS officials told law enforcement agencies in Washington, DC that the conflict ‘almost certainly will increase the threat of terrorism’.
The US has said Iran funds Hamas and Hezbollah and experts also warn it uses its influence to ‘inspire people to carry out plots on their own’ (pictured: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei)
Research has found Hezbollah, which is a proxy of Iran and has increased its attacks on Israel in recent weeks, has tried to develop ‘the capacity and capability to plot attacks on U.S. soil’
Dr Matt Levitt, a counterterrorism program director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told DailyMail.com: ‘The concern is here, twofold: one, that some people will look at this, and it will translate into, specifically either anti-Israel or more broadly, antisemitic acts of violence.
‘We’ve already seen some things like this, protests getting out of hand and potential for that type of violence. That can happen within the Muslim American community – it can happen within the white supremacist community…
‘The second thing is Iran, and some of its proxies, for some time have been slowly beginning to kind of follow what we tend to think of as an ISIS or Al-Qaeda playbook of inspiring people to carry out plots in their own.’
Dr Matt Levitt, a counterterrorism expert, said extremist jihadists and white supremacists could view the Israel-Hamas conflict as an ‘opportunity’ for antisemitic violence in the United States
The State Department has said Iran has funded Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad, with around $100 million each year. It has been accused of using ‘information warfare’, including social media campaigns, to stir anti-American sentiment.
The potential for people following ‘extremist networks’ to carry out attacks is also raised, Levitt said.
‘My bigger concern is that either an extremist jihadist or an extremist white supremacist sees this as great opportunity to carry out violence targeting Jews, or that individuals who’ve been kind of listening in on this, these, you know, propaganda, online networks and begin to believe that now’s the time,’ he added.
Levitt co-authored a report in June, titled ‘Is Iran Looking to Inspire Shia Homegrown Violent Extremist Attacks?’, which referred to ‘calls by Shia leaders and clerics for violence in the United States’.
Shia Islam is the religion’s second largest denomination and is practiced by 90-95 percent of Iranian Muslims.
The report said: ‘In another scenario, a Shia person in the United States or elsewhere in the West might self-radicalize with the help of online messaging. Even more likely, someone already involved with a Shia extremist group could be mobilized to act on their own, independent of the organization.’
The US has said Iran is funding Hamas and Hezbollah and has provided the resources, including funding and weapons, for terror groups to strike Israel.
John Kirby, the White House National Security Council spokesman, said on Monday: ‘We know Iran continues to support Hamas and Hezbollah, and we know that Iran is closely monitoring these events, and in some cases actively facilitating these attacks and spurring on others who may want to exploit the conflict for their own good or for that of Iran.
‘We know that Iran’s goal is to maintain some level of deniability here, but we’re not going to allow them to do that.’
Hezbollah fighters shout slogans as they attend the funeral procession of Hezbollah fighter, Bilal Nemr Rmeiti, who was killed by Israeli shelling, during his funeral procession in Majadel village, south Lebanon, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023
Dr Devorah Margolin, also from The Washington Institute, said the greatest threat to the US is not necessarily from organized groups directly, ‘but rather it is from people who believe that [the groups are] speaking for, or in the name of, these groups – what you would call a lone wolf’.
These might be ‘people who are going to look at the conflict between Israel and Hamas and feel invested in it in some way’, she told DailyMail.com.
‘When a conflict occurs in the Middle East, specifically between Israel and Hamas, we are going to see a rise in antisemitism and islamophobia in the United States,’ said Margolin, who is also a former Senior Research Fellow at the Program on Extremism at The George Washington University.
Dr Devorah Margolin, said the greatest threat is not necessarily from organized groups directly, but sympathizers who operate as ‘lone wolf’ attackers
Margolin co-authored a report published in June 2022 which outlined how Hezbollah has a ‘significant support base in the US… from fundraising rings to weapons procurement’.
The report, which analyzed 128 federally charged individuals in cases related to ‘Hezbollah-affiliated activity’, said the group ‘attempts to develop the operation capacity’ to launch a terror attack in the US and ‘continues to use the US as a financial and logistic hub to support its activities’.
Israel was left stunned after militants from the Palestinian Islamist movement stormed across the Gaza border on October 7 and went on a rampage that Israeli officials say killed more than 1,400 people.
They also snatched more than 220 hostages in the worst-ever attack in Israel’s history, which has prompted a ferocious Israeli bombardment of the coastal Palestinian territory which Gaza’s Hamas rulers say has killed 5,791 people.
Police in U.S. cities as well as federal authorities have been on high alert for violence driven by antisemitic or Islamophobic sentiments as the war continues.
The conflict has triggered a wave of ant-Israel protests in the US and around the world.
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