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Iran planned to assassinate US officials – FBI

Director Christopher Wray has claimed that Hamas could also try to launch attacks on American soil

Iran plotted to assassinate current and former US officials, FBI Director Christopher Wray claimed on Tuesday as he warned of an increased terrorism threat during a Senate hearing. 

In his opening statement to the Committee on Homeland Security, Wray said the terrorism threat in the US had been elevated throughout 2023, but had risen “to a whole other level” due to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas. 

He added that the FBI believes the surprise assault by Hamas on Israel on October 7, in which as many as 1,400 Israelis were killed, could inspire other “violent extremists” to carry out attacks against Americans “going about their daily lives.” 

Wray further claimed that Iran, which he described as “the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism,” had previously directly or indirectly “mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former US government officials, including right here on American soil.” 

The FBI chief also said Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, which he described as “Iran’s primary strategic partner,” had a history of operating on US soil “going back years,” including by “obtaining money and weapons, and spying.” 

Wray stated that the FBI is actively monitoring these groups and their intentions in the US, while warning that American interests and critical infrastructure are already being targeted by cyberattacks from Iran as well as non-state actors. This could eventually escalate to “kinetic attacks” if the Middle East conflict expands, the FBI chief claimed.  

At the same time, Wray noted that the FBI currently has no indications that Hamas has the intention or capability to carry out operations inside the US. Nevertheless, the agency has not ruled out the possibility that Hamas or “another foreign terrorist organization” could attempt an attack on American soil. 

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Iran vows to ignore US warnings on Israel

Wray’s comments came as Israeli forces escalated their incursion into Gaza in response to the October 7 attacks. Health authorities in the enclave have reported that over 8,500 Palestinians have so far been killed amid the Israeli retaliation. 

Tehran, meanwhile, has repeatedly accused the US of fueling tensions in the Middle East. Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian called on Washington to end its support for Israel in the conflict with Hamas. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has accused Washington of “directing” Israel’s strikes on Gaza, labeling America “a definite accomplice of criminals.”

 

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