With a growing number of Americans being influenced by ISIS due to social media and other campaigns, terrorist threats on US soil are real and have become the FBI’s top priority.
More than 200 Americans have tried to join the Islamic State (ISIS) terror organization in Iraq and Syria, FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.
“We estimate upwards of 200 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to participate in the conflict,” Comey stated in written testimony given during the Committee’s hearing, according to The Hill.
“These threats remain among the highest priorities for the FBI and the intelligence community as a whole,” he added.
The FBI has repeatedly warned of the growing influence ISIS has in the US. With its powerful presence on social media, many are inspired by ISIS to join its ranks in the Middle East or launch a terror attack on American soil.
In recent weeks, the government has arrested multiple individuals inspired by ISIS to commit terror attacks, especially in connection with the Fourth of July celebrations.
On Thursday, Comey said that US security forces have arrested more than 10 people who were plotting to carry out terror attacks during the American Independence Day weekend.
“Some of them were focused on the Fourth of July, and that’s as specific as I can get,” he told reporters last week at FBI headquarters in Washington on Thursday, NBC reports.
“I do believe we disrupted efforts to kill people in connection to the Fourth,” Comey said, according to CBS.
Flocking to ISIS in Syria and Iraq
Compared to other Western nations, however, the figure of 200 people from the US attempting to join ISIS is relatively low, The Hill explains.
Earlier this year, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before Congress that as many as 20,000 foreign fighters had joined ISIS’s ranks, about 3,400 of them from Western nations.
“While this number is lower in comparison to many of our international partners, we closely analyze and assess the influence groups like ISIL have on individuals located in the United States who are inspired to commit acts of violence,” Comey said, using an alternate acronym for the group.
“Whether or not the individuals are affiliated with a foreign terrorist organization and are willing to travel abroad to fight or are inspired by the call to arms to act in their communities, they potentially pose a significant threat to the safety of the United States and US persons,” he cautioned.
By: United with Israel Staff
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