The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a new terrorism warning bulletin, said violent extremists could view the reimposition of COVID-19-related restrictions following the spread of coronavirus variants as a rationale to conduct attacks.
A warning Friday from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that violent extremists could try and use the reimposition of COVID-19 related restrictions as a reason to conduct attacks.
The department said that COVID-19-related stress has "contributed to increased societal strains and tensions, driving several plots by domestic violent extremists, and they may contribute to more violence this year." In an interview with CNN, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said his department sees domestic violent extremists as "the greatest terrorist-related threat to our homeland" fueled by "false narratives" and "ideologies of hate." The bulletin also warned of the increased risk of "targeted violence" as the U.S. prepares to mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks and around upcoming religious holidays.
The latest DHS bulletin also noted that al Qaeda's Arabian Peninsula branch had recently released the first English-language version of its "Inspire" magazine in four years, which DHS says is evidence that violent foreign militants are still trying to inspire U.S. followers to engage in attacks.
It also warned that media outlets linked to the Russian, Chinese and Iranian governments had "repeatedly" amplified conspiracy theories about the origins of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of vaccines.