Large majority of post-Oct. 7 threats in the U.S. have targeted Jews, FBI director says

'The biggest chunk of the threats that have been reported in to us, by a good margin, are threats to the Jewish community,' Christopher Wray said


FBI Director Christopher Wray arrives to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the January 6th insurrection, in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on March 2, 2021.

FBI Director Christopher Wray testified on Wednesday morning that the majority of reported post-Oct. 7 threats within the U.S. relating to the conflict in the Middle East have targeted the Jewish community.

“The biggest chunk of the threats that have been reported in to us, by a good margin, are threats to the Jewish community,” including synagogues and prominent Jewish officials, Wray said in a House Homeland Security Hearing. 

“We also have a large number of tips and leads related specifically to Hamas, and radicalization and recruitment,” he continued. “We do also have some threats to Muslim Americans that have also been called in.”

Christine Abizaid, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said that the Hamas attack has inspired a range of “ideologically diverse array of threat actors” across the globe, while Hamas’ own focus has remained in the Middle East.

Within the U.S., Abizaid said that the intelligence community is more concerned about lone actors in the U.S. being inspired by foreign terror groups to attack Jewish, Arab and Muslim communities, rather than direct attacks by such terrorist groups.

“Terrorists and violent extremists are exploiting multiple core grievances to fuel violence,” including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the “already heightened atmosphere of antisemitism globally,” U.S. military involvement in the Middle East and the U.S.-Israel relationship she said.

She highlighted social media content as a particular factor “intended to drive groups and individuals to political violence.”

Wray also said the FBI has no intelligence to suggest that protests against Israel are being organized or attended largely by undocumented immigrants, which has been a prominent concern among Republicans since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack.

He could not say definitively that no Hamas members or affiliates had entered the country illegally, but said the FBI is working to identify any such individuals.

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