The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a new warning on domestic terrorism on Friday, noting that violent extremists could take advantage of the easing of restrictions due to the covid epidemic to carry out attacks.
In an update to a January alert following the attack on the US Congress by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, DHS said the country faces “increasingly complex and volatile” threats from anti-government and racially motivated extremists, often triggered by influences online from abroad.
“We are advising the public to be aware of ongoing threats against the United States, including those posed by domestic terrorism, grievance-based violence, and those inspired or influenced by foreign terrorists and other malicious foreign influences,” said the Secretary of Security. Interior, Alejandro Mayorkas.
The official warning comes as the country lifted many restrictions that were in effect due to the pandemic, and after Washington eased security measures implemented after the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol.
Those measures included thousands of National Guard soldiers deployed to the streets of the capital and fenced off key buildings.
“Violent extremists may attempt to exploit loosening of COVID-19-related restrictions in the United States to carry out attacks against a wider range of targets after previous limits on public capacity reduced opportunities for lethal attacks,” it said. indicated in the notice.
As it was added, false narratives and conspiracy theories continue to flourish online.
Some “called for violence against elected officials, political representatives, government facilities, law enforcement agencies, religious or commercial facilities, and people perceived as ideologically opposed,” he said.
The ad also warned that media outlets linked to the government of Russia, China and Iran continue to agitate and amplify complaints and conspiracy theories on social media “to sow discord.”
For example, he said, they have promoted false stories about coronavirus vaccines and encouraged violence against people of Asian descent.
Finally, the official unit highlighted the continued efforts of the Islamist extremist groups Islamic State and Al Qaeda to inspire local extremists to carry out attacks.