FBI, DHS warn of ‘threats to public safety’ during holiday season, amplified by Israel-Hamas conflict

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are warning the public of heightened threats to public safety this holiday season and through winter associated with the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. 

The FBI says it is “closely monitoring threats to public safety during the holiday season which may be amplified” by the war. 

The FBI said in a release Tuesday that it is “closely monitoring threats to public safety during the holiday season.”  (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana/File)

“We take all potential threats seriously and will work closely with our law enforcement partners to determine their credibility, share information, and take appropriate investigative action,” the bureau says in a PSA.

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Per an assessment from the FBI and DHS, ongoing tensions related to the conflict between Israel and Hamas “likely heighten the threat of lone actor violence targeting large public gatherings throughout the winter, including holiday-related, faith-based, New Year’s Eve, and First Amendment protected events related to the conflict.” 

The bureau says these targets are likely to remain “attractive to lone actors inspired by a range of ideologies due to their accessibility and symbolic nature.” 

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Due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are warning the public of heightened threats to public safety this holiday season.  (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images/File)

The bureau points to terrorist media organizations having called for “lone actor attacks in the United States” as well as “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” having called for violence and celebrated attacks on the Jewish community. 

The FBI says hate crimes have spiked nationwide since Hamas’ deadly assault Oct. 7 on Israel that set off the war. 

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“We have also observed an increase in hoax bomb and active shooter threats targeting synagogues across the United States, likely intended to disrupt services and intimidate congregants. Calls for violence may increase in the days leading up to the holidays and before other notable events this winter,” the FBI said. “We therefore urge everyone to remain vigilant and to report any threats of violence or suspicious activity to law enforcement.”

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