Officials revealed this week that the Islamic terror group (ISIS/ISIL) has a foothold in all 50 states as it continues to target disaffected Americans through its torrent of online propaganda and slick videos of barbaric beheadings and mutilations. FBI agents have made at least 30 arrests on US soil this year as they try to combat the reach of ISIS and its followers, according to a Daily Mail Online Exclusive released today.
The threat level increase came just days after an ISIS-inspired gunman, Saif Rezgui, attacked a Tunisian beach resort, killing 39 vacationers and wounding dozens more.
The FBI has reportedly set up command centers in each of its 56 field officers in case extremists try to mark the July 4th weekend by unleashing similar carnage in the U.S. American ISIS ‘recruits’ to date have included schoolgirls, a young nurse, a pizza shop boss and even a National Guard soldier who hatched a plan to gun down 120 of his own colleagues.
Some have conspired to travel or send friends abroad to link up with fundamentalist fighters while others have plotted jihad here in the US – with Capitol Hill among the targets for a foiled bombing raid.
Gunmen Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Soofi, 34, came perilously close on May 4 when they were shot dead while trying to storm a controversial ‘Draw Mohammed’ event in Garland, Texas. ISIS claimed responsibility for the raid but officials suspect the pair were more likely radicalized over the web.
Another young fanatic, Usaamah Rahim, 26, was killed last month as he lunged at police with a knife in Boston’s Roslindale neighborhood. He was allegedly plotting to decapitate controversial anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller, the organizer of the same controversial Texas event.
The deadly incidents are just two of the dozens of plots disrupted by police and federal agents since ISIS began its rise.
Daily Mail Online pieced together the chilling network of arrests and alleged foiled atrocities.
Suspected copycat “Boston Bombers” roommates Noelle Velentzas and Asia Siddiqui are accused of plotting a homemade bomb attack on a slain police officer’s funeral. The two friends from Queens, New York stockpiled gas tanks, fertilizer and a pressure cooker in an apparent bid to emulate Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, prosecutors allege.
Court documents say their list of potential targets included the funeral of NYPD officer Rafael Ramos, who was shot dead in December 2014 along with his partner Wenjian Liu. Velentzas, 28, is said to have told an undercover agent who befriended them in 2013 that they wanted to be known as ‘citizens of the Islamic State’. On another occasion she pulled out a knife, demonstrated how to stab someone – and allegedly asked: ‘Why can’t we be some real bad bitches?’
Siddiqui, 31, was equally as forthcoming in a 2009 poem she had published in Jihad Recollections, a precursor to the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire. The warped verse, entitled ‘Take Me to the Lands Where the Eyes are Cooled’, describes her yearning to ‘drop bombs’ and ‘taste the Truth through fists and slit throats’.
Both women were arrested on April 2 before they could settle on a target, but are accused of conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. Authorities doubt they ever had direct contact with ISIS but say the pair accessed the terror group’s propaganda online.
US officials suspect around a dozen men from Minnesota have left the North Star State to fight alongside ISIS extremists in Syria – and two have been killed. Last August Douglas McArthur McCain, 33, a Muslim convert who went to school in Minneapolis, became the first U.S. citizen known to have died while fighting for the terror outfit. Days later the White House confirmed that a second Minneapolis native-turned ISIS combatant, father-of-nine Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, had also been killed.
The two deaths fueled fears that the Midwestern state is becoming an unlikely recruiting hot-spot for ISIS. Community leaders have warned that disaffected youths from the large Somali community are particularly vulnerable to jihadist ideology. A video entitled Minnesota’s Martyrs: The Path to Paradise, was circulated by another Islamist group al-Shabaab in an apparent bid to capitalize on the growing interest in extremism there.
These are just a few of the many cases detailed in the Daily Mail Online Exclusive and the alleged basis for the increased terror threat level going into the 4th of July holiday weekend. Federal and local law enforcement agencies are on heightened alert in preparation for the holiday and so too should citizens be extra vigilant. Americans are not the type of people to be cowed into submission by threats of violence, especially as they celebrate their Independence and remember those who fought and died for our freedom.
Stay sharp, be vigilant and don’t overreact out of fear or panic. Report any suspicious activity to the local police and they will coordinate with the FBI and other agencies to assess any reported threats. Be prepared and be alert, YOU are your own first line of defense for yourself, your loved ones and this nation.