Police on the lookout for terrorists in New York. (AP/Seth Wenig) (AP/Seth Wenig)
US police
Micaehl McCaul

House Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Mike McCaul, (AP/Lauren Victoria Burke)

Islamic terror is growing and spreading, threatening the US as never before, a senior Homeland Security official warns.

The Islamic terror threat in the US “is high and has escalated dramatically this year and remains high,” according to the latest “Terror Threat Snapshot” for September released by House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul.

“Last month, ISIS (the Islamic State terror organization) supporters published a ‘hit-list’ targeting American government personnel, including our brave men and women in uniform,” Congressman McCaul (R-TX) affirmed, according to Homeland Security Today. “Authorities also arrested another ISIS-aligned radical in Arizona who helped a fighter travel to Syria for military training – stark reminders of the threats we face. We need vigilance and good intelligence here at home and a strategy to root out the enemy abroad to combat and ultimately defeat Islamist extremists.”

The monthly assessment is the committee’s continuing effort to highlight the growing threat from the Islamic State (ISIS) and other Islamist jihadi groups.

Terror ‘Wildfire’ Spreading at ‘Unprecedented Speed’

According to McCaul, the key takeaways from this month’s Terror Threat Snapshot include the fact that “there have been more US-based jihadist terror cases in 2015 than in any full year since 9/11. The number of US terrorist cases involving homegrown violent jihadists has gone from 38 in July 2010 to 124 today – more than a three-fold increase in just five years.”

Furthermore, “ISIS is fueling the Islamist terror wildfire across the globe at unprecedented speed. As of the end of August, the group has inspired or directed 57 terror attack plots against Western targets, including 15 in the United States. A recent train attack in France would have been a mass-casualty attack had it not been for an alert group of Americans. There have now been nearly twice as many ISIS-linked attack plots against the West this year (37) as there were in all of 2014 (20).”

The targets are diverse, he explained. “Islamist terrorists are intent on killing American law enforcement and military personnel, in addition to innocent civilians. Radicals are increasingly targeting men and women in uniform here in the United States. In August, ISIS supporters released another ‘hit list’ of American government personnel, including service members. Since early 2014, the majority of Islamist terror plots on US soil have featured plans to kill police or US service members.”

ISIS’ threat in the Middle East, and specifically to Israel, is also increasing. “ISIS has largely maintained its terror safe havens in Syria and Iraq while expanding globally more than a year after the US and its allies launched operations against it. Al-Qaeda affiliates from Syria to Yemen have also carved out sanctuary and seized additional terrain. ISIS retained control over its major strongholds in Syria and Iraq while undertaking disruption attacks and offensives in key territory; ISIS-affiliated militants have simultaneously consolidated control in Libya. Foreign fighters continue to swell the ranks of Islamist extremist groups looking to recruit foot soldiers and activate followers to launch attacks in their home countries.”

More than 25,000 fighters from 100 countries have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS in what the report describes as “the largest convergence of Islamist terrorists in world history.” There has been “no meaningful degradation in their numbers” since last August, according to a defense official.

Approximately 4,500 Western fighters, including 550 women and 250 Americans, have traveled to Syria and Iraq.

The report also notes “the risk of Islamist terrorists exploiting refugee and migrant flows to travel freely and plot attacks in the West remains high.”

The growing threat of ISIS terrorism in the US has surpassed that of al-Qaeda, FBI chief James Comey warned in July, as US security agencies continue to track down individuals influenced by ISIS who may be planning to act on their radical ideology.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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