The U.S. is gearing up for a “generational fight” against terrorists returning home and those already here, according to an advisory warning the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued Monday.
DHS updated its National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Bulletin on homegrown terrorism to include a summary of the “homegrown terrorist threat” extremist terrorist agents recruited in the U.S. and trained abroad pose. DHS warned that terrorist organizations are encouraging followers to use vehicle attacks, small arms, knives and homemade explosives against targets in their home countries. Additionally, the bulletin said foreign fighters “who have acquired training and battle-tested terrorism experience” could engage in attacks against the U.S. homeland.
“After careful consideration of the current threat environment and input from intelligence and law enforcement partners, I have made the decision to update and extend the NTAS Bulletin for six months based on the persistent threat from homegrown terrorists,” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly said in a statement. “We are in a generational fight against terrorists groups and those they inspire, and for us to protect our homeland we will need constant vigilance and clear focus on staying a step ahead of the enemy.”
DHS is working with the FBI to “provide guidance” to state and local agencies to meet the threat head-on. It is also partnering with the private sector on “risk assessments” and the coordination of security measures with businesses. U.S. officials are also continuing efforts to identify Americans who have left to join terrorist groups and have established “enhanced screening and vetting measures” to detect U.S. visitors with terrorist connections.
The Islamic State initially told followers to travel to the so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria but later told encouraged them to engage in attacks at home. ISIS propaganda outlets gave intricate detail into how and when to engage in attack. As Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led operation against ISIS, continues to retake the group’s territory, many analysts believe the remaining fighters will go underground and return home.
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