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US issues nationwide terror alert over anti-government extremists

Trump supporters use their cell phones to record events as they gather outside the Capitol, January 6, 2021, in Washington as Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Trump supporters use their cell phones to record events as they gather outside the Capitol, January 6, 2021, in Washington as Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The US Department of Homeland Security declares a nationwide terrorism alert, citing the potential threat from domestic anti-government extremists opposed to Joe Biden as president.

“Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the department says.

The National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin says a heightened threat of attack “will persist in the weeks following the successful presidential inauguration,” which took place on January 20.

“DHS does not have any information to indicate a specific, credible plot,” it says.

“However, violent riots have continued in recent days and we remain concerned that individuals frustrated with the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition… could continue to mobilize a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors to incite or commit violence.”

US National Guard soldiers are seen in silhouette as they keep guard in front of the Capitol Building and near the Washington Monument in Washington, DC on January 19, 2021, ahead of the 59th inaugural ceremony for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP)

The alert says there have been mounting threats since last year from domestic violent extremists motivated by COVID-19 restrictions, Biden’s defeat of Donald Trump in the November election, police brutality and illegal immigration.

DHS says these motivations could remain in place for the coming months and that the January 6 attack by Trump supporters on Congress could embolden extremists “to target elected officials and government facilities.”

More than 150 people, including members of armed extremist groups, have been arrested since the attack, which has been branded as an insurrection.

The department urges the public to report suspicious activity and threats of violence.

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