Feds warn 'domestic terrorists' could target July 4th festivities

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Posted at 11:59 AM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 10:56:04-04

Federal authorities have warned that political radicals may attack people who are celebrating on the Fourth of July.

A bulletin to law enforcement around the country stated that domestic terrorists "have attacked perceived oppressors, opponents, or enemies engaged in outdoor First Amendment-protected rallies or protests during past summers."

The warning, which came from a joint intelligence bulletin issued by the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and National Counterterrorism Center, was obtained by ABC News and told law enforcement to remain vigilant for anything suspicious.

“The FBI, DHS, and NCTC remain concerned that [they] could target upcoming Independence Day celebrations, gatherings, or parades, though we are unaware of any current plots specifically targeting such events,” the bulletin said. “We note that attacks can occur with little to no warning because of the frequently lower levels of security around civilian targets, challenges in securing large crowds, and calls for attacks against soft targets.”

The warning said both domestic and "homegrown" terrorists would use simple tactics and easy to obtain weapons, "although some violent extremists have historically sought to use explosive devices."

Officials with the FBI told ABC News the agency has seen a large increase in domestic terrorism investigations involving white supremacists since last year. They are currently tracking about 1,000 suspected "homegrown" terrorists inside the United States who are believed to have been inspired by ISIS, al Qaeda or other foreign terrorist organizations, a senior FBI official recently testified before Congress. They are also investigation about 850 suspected "domestic" terrorists.

The bulletin also said: “The FBI, DHS, and NCTC are not aware of any specific, credible threats surrounding the upcoming Independence Day holiday, but note that previous attacks in the Homeland have happened with little to no warning.”