FBI notes rise in terror cases since start of war in Gaza

Deputy director Paul Abbate calls on international community to form partnerships against potential future attacks, in speech to Doha security forum

FBI deputy director Paul Abbate said the war in Gaza has exacerbated 'an already very severe terrorism environment'. AFP
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The FBI is dealing with 4,000 open and active international terrorism investigations after having recorded an increase in cases since Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, the bureau's deputy director said on Monday.

Paul Abbate told an audience at the Doha Global Security Forum that the bureau has noted a rise in the threat of terrorism in terms of violence being driven by foreign terrorist groups and ideologies since last October.

“Certainly since [October 7], the threat environment has spiked to an even greater degree in terms of the number of acts that are being reported to us,” Mr Abbate said.

The war began in October after Hamas fighters led an unprecedented attack on Israel from Gaza, the deadliest in the country’s history, killing about 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostage.

In the ensuing fighting, more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children. The number of injured is nearing 80,000.

The Hamas attack on southern Israel “definitely has had an effect on worsening an already very severe terrorism environment”, he said.

The US and the international community must work together to "stay ahead" and to most "effectively meet the threats" of terrorism, Mr Abbate said.

"We all have limited resources, so working together is the best way, in our view, to stay ahead of things, particularly those things that we may not even see coming."

Last month, US officials said they were concerned about the possibility of an attack carried out by an individual or a small group due to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

FBI director Christopher Wray said: “We expect that October 7 and the conflict that’s followed will feed a pipeline of radicalisation and mobilisation for years to come.”

Soon after the war started, Mr Wray told the House Committee on Homeland Security that violent home-grown extremists posed the single greatest immediate foreign terrorist threat to the US.

Updated: May 20, 2024, 5:29 PM