FBI Warns Of Lone Actor Violence At Holiday Events

The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning to Americans this week of violent acts that lone actors could carry out during the holiday season.
The warning, issued Tuesday, comes as the conflict between Israel and Hamas carries into its third month.

The public service announcement issued jointly by the FBI, the National Terrorism Center and the Department of Homeland Security said the war between the two countries heightens “the threat of lone actor violence targeting large public gatherings throughout the winter.”

According to the security agencies, large gatherings during the holidays provide a “convenient target” for anyone who’s looking to commit violent acts against certain religious communities — such as Muslims, Christians and Jews, among others.

The announcement reads that the escalating conflict between Hamas and Israel could inspire people to carry out retaliatory violent attacks, or attacks that might copycat those that happen in the Middle East.

Since Oct. 7, when the terrorist organization Hamas killed more than 1,200 people when it attacked Israel by surprise, the agencies highlighted an increase in potential hate crimes or other criminal violations.”

In addition to threats of actual violence, the agencies said in the announcement that they’ve experienced an increase in threats of shootings or hoax bombs at synagogues throughout the U.S.

At the same time, the agencies pointed out that there wasn’t one “specific plotting activity” that influenced them to issue the warning. Still, since there are various ideologies involved in the Israel-Hamas war, there are multiple targets that “likely remain attractive to lone actors.”

Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, said recently that his agency has seen an increase of 60% in investigations of hate crimes in the country just since the war broke out. Many of those, he added, have targeted Jewish communities.

In addition, Wray said the FBI was trying to prevent future attacks that could be inspired by the Hamas attacks, particularly as some extremist groups have ramped up calls for people to commit violent acts in the U.S.

“We’re working around the clock to identify and disrupt potential attacks by those inspired by Hamas’ horrific attacks in Israel,” Wray said last week to the Senate Judiciary Committee.