A 4th of July terror alert has been issued by the DHS, or the Department of Homeland Security, following concerns of terror threats when the United States commemorates Independence Day. The 4th of July holiday weekend is quickly approaching and many experts fear a possible attack.
DHS issued a memo on Friday that warned of a possible terror attack on Independence Day. It encourages all law enforcement to be prepared and vigilant. CNN has been told that authorities are giving warnings for potential threats of attacks around the 4th of July holiday, according to an official of the U.S. law enforcement.
The official, who is not authorized to make a public comment, said there is no actual credible or specific attack threat, but the DHS and FBI intelligence bulletin alerted local enforcement to the threats caused by homegrown extremists and the Islamic State. Bulletins are usually issued before major holidays in the U.S. out of concern and caution so extremists may use the best timing to get more attention.
After the attacks in Kuwait, Tunisia, and France, Jeh Johnson, DHS Secretary, said local enforcement is encouraged to be “prepared and vigilant” as the nation gears up for the 4th of July celebrations. Last Friday, a resort in Tunisia was attacked by a supporter of the Islamic State of Iran and Syria, which killed 38, most of whom were tourists from Europe.
Johnson said they will adjust seen or unseen security measures, “as necessary to protect the American people.” Nonetheless, the department secretary encourages the American people to celebrate the country’s summer season by attending public events, but they should “always remain vigilant.”
Johnson also mentioned the church shooting in Charleston and said such acts of violence will never discourage nor frighten them. The killer aimed to divide the people, but the opposite happened. In South Carolina, people united to condemn the act while mourning for those who died, Johnson said.
Federal investigators are working to disrupt some plots inspired by the Islamic State, such as a planned attack earlier this month on Boston police. Usaamah Rahim was shot by authorities when he allegedly planned an attack to a police officer with military-style knives. In New York, a suspect was arrested for an alleged attack on a FBI agent during a home search operation, which was said to be pertinent to the terror investigation. Another suspect, Fareed Mumuni, 21, is facing attempted murder charges for alleged use of knives and pressure-cooker explosives to attack the police.
The 4th of July terror alert that was issued by DHS is titled “Holiday Celebrations Remain Attractive Target.” Issued on June 26, the warning was disseminated to 18,000 law enforcement bodies. It warns that celebrations or activities which appear to defame Islam’s prophet Mohammed are likely the targets for attacks and for violent extremist acts. Law enforcers are concerned over the difficulty of detecting extremists, like the lone offenders, because of their “individualized radicalization to violence,” the document says. Members of ISIS are pressing for support in social media to carry out attacks. The document says that attacks in the U.S. could be done by ISIS supporters, with “little or no warning.”
Michael Morell, CBS News security contributor and ex-CIA deputy director, said that while 4th of July warning attacks can be a customary measure, the DHS advisory was for him anything but ordinary. He said the warning from the DHS and FBI is real, for two reasons – one, many people are aligning with ISIS, and two, the militants have a “call of arms” to attack enemies during Ramadan.
Morell said on CBS This Morning, that he will not be surprised if there really be an attack. He said that is how serious 4th of July terror alert which was issued by DHS is.
By Judith Aparri
New Jersey News 12: DHS issues terror alert for 4th of July weekend
USA Today: Fourth of July terror warning issued by FBI, Homeland Security
ABC News: Bulletin Warns of Heightened Threat of ISIS Attack on July 4th
CBS News: Ex-CIA insider: July 4 terror alert is “nothing routine”
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