The FBI has issued a high alert to police departments across the country about potential Jihadist terror attacks planned for Thanksgiving and at President Trump’s inauguration.
The alert specifically warned about homegrown terrorists, with potential targets such as shopping malls, special events, and crowded venues. Locations in Washington, D.C. and Virginia were described as “target-rich zones.”
Potential tactics that they could use include guns, IEDs, or drones equipped with IEDs.
The FBI also warned of any indicators of lone-wolf activity, such as isolation from family and friends, lifestyle changes, increased use of encrypted forms of communication, among others.
Department of Homeland Security also issued a warning Tuesday in response to the threat of terrorism at the Macy’s parade.
“Though we know of no intelligence that is both specific and credible at this time of a plot by terrorist organizations to attack the homeland, the reality is terrorist-inspired individuals have conducted, or attempted to conduct, attacks in the United States,” a bulletin posted online at the Department of Homeland Security said.
NBC News reported that the warning says terrorists could attempt to target “public events and places where people congregate.”
The bulletin came days after an ISIS magazine called on the terrorist group’s followers to use vehicles to attack popular outdoor attractions, like a New York parade.
“It is very difficult to protect events like large gatherings such as parades from these types of attacks using vehicles, and we saw that last summer in Nice,” said Matt Olsen, a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center and a current ABC News consultant.
John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, said that the department has prepared for vehicle-borne attacks since the tragedy in France.
“The intelligence bureau identified 181 locations that rent trucks to the public in the metropolitan area. Of that, we went to 135 of those locations that rent vehicles under 26,000 pounds, where you wouldn’t require the possession of a commercial driver’s license to operate that. Our incident prevention unit provided them with very useful guidance on how to identify suspicious behavior and characteristics among people who are potential renters of those vehicles,” he told reporters.
A counterterrorism official said that an ISIS-inspired attacker is of particular concern because the group may seek to “distract” the world from its battlefield loses in Iraq and Syria.
“As [ISIS] sheds its remaining safe havens, the group’s pretensions of a caliphate look increasingly bankrupt, and desperation will likely fuel its pleas for action,” the official said.
We will keep you informed as more information is available.