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Terror in US at highest level since September 11 attacks

The number of attempted jihadist attacks in the US in 2015 is higher than it has been since 2001, congressional committee warns

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Authorities work an active shooting scene on amincola highway near the Naval Reserve Center, in Chattanooga, Tenn. on  July 16, 2015. (WRCB-TV via AP)
Authorities work an active shooting scene on amincola highway near the Naval Reserve Center, in Chattanooga, Tenn. on July 16, 2015. (WRCB-TV via AP)

The jihadist threat in the US has escalated “dramatically” in 2015, with the country facing more attacks and attempted attacks from homegrown terrorists than any time in over a decade, a congressional panel warned last week.

The House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee said in a release that the number of US terrorist cases involving US-bred jihadists has reached 124, a sharp rise from the 38 reported in 2010 and constituting a three-fold increase in just five years.

“The Islamist terror threat in the US homeland has escalated dramatically this year and remains high,” committee chairman Michael McCaul said in the monthly “Terror Threat Snapshot” published Friday. “There have been more US-based jihadist terror cases in 2015 than in any full year since [September 11, 2001],” the August report noted.

The assessment is a part of the Republican-controlled committee’s efforts to spotlight threats from the Islamic State and other jihadist groups faced the US and other Western countries.

Homeland Security Committee, Terror Threat Snapshot, August 2015
Homeland Security Committee, Terror Threat Snapshot, August 2015

According to the report, since early 2014, the majority of Islamist terror plots in the US targeted police or American soldiers, including an attack on a Chattanooga army recruitment center that left five people dead.

Despite the continued military operations aimed at dismantling the Islamic State that has taken over large swaths of Syria and Iraq in the last year, the extremist group has not only manged to maintain control its seized territories, but has succeeding in expanding

“America and its overseas partners have largely failed to rollback the ISIS terror safe haven. Globally, ISIS is fueling the Islamist terror wildfire—and at unprecedented speed,” the report warned.

It noted that US intelligence agencies have concluded that the group is no weaker than it was before the US-led airstrikes and could still muster 20,000 to 30,000 foot soldiers.

The report estimates over 250 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria to join the ranks of the terror group, with several dozen believed to be currently fighting with the Islamic State.

Noting the recent nuclear deal reached between Iran and major world powers in July, the report expressed concern that the easing of Western economic sanctions would fuel instability in the region, including funneling money to Tehran’s elite Quds Force military group, which oversees Iran’s global terror networks.

According to the committee, former Quds Force commander Ahmad Vahidi — who is tied to the 1993 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina — will also receive sanctions relief.

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