FBI Director Christopher Wray warned on Tuesday that Hamas' rampage inside israel could inspire violence in the U.S., telling lawmakers that multiple foreign extremist groups have called for attacks against Americans and the West in recent weeks.
“We assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration the likes of which we haven't seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate years ago,” Wray said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.
In his testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Wray gave his most detailed and ominous assessment of potential threats to the U.S. since the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli soldiers and civilians.
His reference to the Islamic State, a reminder of when the FBI scrambled to disrupt hastily developed plots of violence by people inspired by the group's ascendancy, underscores the bureau's concerns that the current Middle East conflict could create a similarly dangerous dynamic.
Though the FBI isn't currently tracking an “organized threat” inside the United States, law enforcement is concerned about the potential of attacks by individuals or small groups, as occurred during the rise of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq a decade ago.
The bureau has already seen an increase in attacks on overseas military bases and expects cyberattacks targeting American infrastructure to get worse as the conflict expands, he said.