FBI warns of IS terror attack on churches, Christmas gatherings
NEW YORK, December 24, 2016
The FBI has advised US law enforcement agencies and private security firms to be on alert in the light of threat by Islamic State (IS) sympathisers to target churches and Christmas celebrations, according to media reports.
The warning, that IS sympathisers are calling for attacks on churches and other holiday gathering sites in the US, was issued after a publicly available list of US churches was posted on a social media site used by the jihadist group's supporters.
Earlier this week users of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) supporting social media group published the list of churches which are located across all 50 states, CNN reported.
FBI and the Department of Homeland Security officials distributed a bulletin to police forces and private security firms across the country.
It came days after Isis claimed responsibility for the Christmas attack in Berlin in which a truck ploughed into a holiday market, killing 12 people and injuring 56.
FBI spokesman Andrew Ames said the agency was aware of the list of churches posted online and was investigating its credibility.
The FBI asked for extra vigilance at churches over Christmas. The bulletin said Isis sympathisers "continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches".
It said there were no specific credible threat and the warning was issued out of an abundance of caution.
That was because of the public nature of the threats online and the Christmas holiday season.
Previous threats by Isis supporters had centred on potential military targets.