FBI chief warns of Moscow-style terrorist attack in US

Christopher Wray has told lawmakers that jihadists may target Americans in a strike similar to the massacre at Crocus City Hall

The US faces a growing threat of a coordinated jihadist attack like the one that killed 145 people at Russia’s Crocus City Hall, FBI chief Christopher Wray has told lawmakers in Washington.

Wray issued his warning in testimony to a US Senate committee on Tuesday, arguing that his agency needed increased funding to help protect Americans from terrorism. The FBI has proposed a 6.2% budget increase, to $11.3 billion for its next fiscal year, at a time when some Republican lawmakers are pushing for spending cuts.

“Just in the time that I’ve been FBI director, we’ve disrupted multiple terrorist attacks in cities and communities around the country,” Wray said. “We need funding to continue protecting America from terrorism.”

The March 22 attack at the Crocus concert venue, near Moscow, left 145 people dead and over 500 injured. The suspected gunmen, who are citizens of Tajikistan, shot concertgoers at close range and set off smoke bombs and explosives, triggering a fire in which some victims were reportedly trapped. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has alleged that Ukrainian military intelligence was behind the massacre, possibly using Islamists as proxies.

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Terrorist threats in the US have escalated since the Israel-Hamas war began last October, Wray said. He claimed that a “rogues’ gallery of terrorist groups had called for attacks on America and its allies.

“Given those calls for action, our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw a twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home,” the FBI director said. “But now, on top of that, increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the homeland, not unlike the ISIS-K attack we saw at the Russian concert hall back in March.”

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The US has seen a 60% surge in “hate crimes,” primarily attacks targeting Jewish people, since the Israel-Hamas war started, Wray said. Jews have been targeted by domestic extremists and jihadists inspired by foreign terrorist organizations, he claimed.

“They have the tragic distinction of really being targeted by almost every type of terrorist organization there is out there, foreign and domestic, across the spectrum,” Wray added. “And so, they desperately need our help, and we’re going to give it to them.”

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