FBI warns ISIS could attack Pride parades amid Biden's border crisis

"Foreign terrorist organizations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

The FBI has issued an alert warning that Pride events in the US in June may be targeted by ISIS and other foreign terrorist organizations.

"Foreign terrorist organizations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month," the alert, issued by the FBI and DHS, warned.

The warning explained foreign terrorist organizations' (FTOs) efforts to "commit or inspire violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride celebrations or LGBTQIA+-related venues, are compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other Western countries."

"FTOs and their supporters have previously promoted anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and targeted LGBTQIA+ related events or venues for attacks," it added.

English-language ISIS messaging reportedly featured an article in February 2023 calling for "followers to conduct attacks on unidentified soft targets, although the attacks and targets were not specific to LGBTQIA+ venues."

June 12, 2024, is the eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. After the shooting that killed 49 and wounded 53, "pro-ISIS messaging praised this attack as one of the high-profile attacks in Western countries, and FTO supporters celebrated it."

The alert also noted a June 2023 attempted attack on a Pride parade in Vienna, Austria by three alleged ISIS sympathizers using knives and a vehicle.

The FBI warned of possible indications of threat activity such as threats made both in person and online, "unusual" testing of security measures at events or venues, photography of security-related equipment, personnel, or access points, attempts to enter restricted areas, and questions on the security measures in place at a facility, among other indicators.

In the 2023 fiscal year, 172 people on the terror watch list attempted to illegally enter the US. An additional 564 people on the list attempted to enter the US at ports of entry, according to CBP data.

In the 2024 fiscal year so far, 76 people on the list have attempted to enter the US illegally, and 159 people attempted to enter through ports of entry.

The number of people on the terror watch list attempting to enter the country illegally has skyrocketed under Biden’s term, with the 2021 fiscal year, the first full fiscal year under Biden, seeing 16 encounters and 2022 seeing 98. Under Trump, the highest number of those attempting to cross illegally was six, seen in fiscal year 2018.

In December, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress, "So what I would say that is unique about the environment that we're in right now in my career is that while there may have been times over the years where individual threats could have been higher here or there than where they might be right now, I've never seen a time where all the threats, or so many of the threats, are all elevated, all at exactly the same time."

"That's what makes this environment that we're in now so fraught and why funding our men and women who are working shoulder to shoulder with local law enforcement and other partners every day, makes it even more important, not less."

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