"The threat is very much ongoing and in fact, the threat picture continues to evolve," Wray said. "Here in the U.S., we cannot and do not discount the possibility that Hamas or other foreign terrorist organizations could exploit the conflict to call on their supporters to conduct attacks on our own soil." The law enforcement agency has been sharing intelligence about possible violence with state and local law enforcement, including that of a lone wolf-style assailant who is not on their radars.
Wray said that Jews and Muslims alike, as well as their institutions and houses of worship, have been threatened in the U.S. and told reporters that the bureau is "moving quickly to mitigate" the threats. However, the agency's senior officials deemed that the other threats were proved not to be credible.
The head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, warns of the inspiration that Islamist threats in the US may receive from the events here. pic.twitter.com/OxpyenluZD
— DEFCONTV (@DEFCONNEWSTV) October 15, 2023
In a separate speaking engagement at an International Association of Chiefs of Police event, he noted "an increase in reported threats" and in particular warned that "we've got to be on the lookout ... for lone actors who may take inspiration from recent events to commit violence of their own." He further urged police chiefs to stay vigilant because as first responders, "you're often the first to see the signs that someone may be mobilizing to violence."
The FBI director twice said that he was "horrified...by the brutality committed at the hands of Hamas" and added that countering terrorism is the bureau's No. 1 priority. "We will not tolerate violence motivated by hate and extremism," he said, adding that the bureau's legal attaché office in Tel Aviv is working with Israeli and U.S. Embassy partners "to locate and identify all Americans who've been impacted in the region, including those who remain unaccounted for." He further stated that victim services specialists are working with victims and their families at home and abroad. (Related: Hamas was created by Israeli and US intelligence services to counteract Yasser Arafat, Ron Paul explains.)
Meanwhile, after giving the northern Gaza Strip an evacuation ultimatum on Friday, Israel has so far withheld from launching a "significant" ground operation, due to rainy weather and some other reasons. Some are speculating that requests from the U.S. to evacuate all U.S. citizens out of Palestine ahead of the invasion are holding Israel back.
Amid all of these, a deadly blast at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza killed hundreds of Palestinians. The Hamas-controlled authorities in Gaza immediately blamed Israel, claiming it was a deliberate air strike but Israel's military has denied responsibility for the attack and claimed a misfired Palestinian rocket hit the hospital. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The entire world should know: it was barbaric terrorists in Gaza that attacked the hospital in Gaza, not the IDF. Those who brutally murdered our children also murder their own children."
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Saturday said that if Israeli "war crimes and genocide" are not stopped, the conflict might expand to other parts of the Middle East if Hezbollah joins the battle, and that would make Israel suffer "a huge earthquake." He also urged the members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) during an emergency OIC meeting in the Saudi city of Jeddah to discuss the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict to impose an oil embargo and other sanctions on Israel and expel all Israeli ambassadors over the deadly strike on the Gaza hospital.
"The foreign minister calls for an immediate and complete embargo on Israel by Islamic countries, including oil sanctions, in addition to expelling Israeli ambassadors if relations with the Zionist regime have been established," the ministry said. Amirabdollahian also recommended forming a team of Islamic lawyers to document potential war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza. Iran has been reported to have no diplomatic relations with Israel.
After the hospital airstrikes, pro-Palestinian protests erupted throughout the Middle East and North Africa and were staged at Israeli embassies in Jordan as well as Turkey and near the U.S. embassy in Lebanon. There were also uprisings in Iran, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen and Iraq. Moreover, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas canceled a summit with his U.S. counterpart due to the recent developments. For him, the hospital blast was a "hideous war massacre" and Israel has crossed red lines.
The latest updates on the ongoing chaos in the Middle East can be found on WWIII.news.