Security agencies warn of terrorist threats to churches

Security agencies warn of terrorist threats to churches
© Getty Images

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned law enforcement agencies that Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) sympathizers continue to call for attacks on holiday events, “including targeting churches,” CNN reports.

Officials say there are no known, credible threats and that the bulletin was issued out of an abundance of caution given the public nature of the threats issued by the group’s followers.

Users of a pro-ISIS social media group on Telegram earlier this week published a publicly available directory of churches across all 50 states, calling for “bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year.”


A separate posting in the group called for followers to target “churches, well-known hotels, crowded coffee shops, streets, markets and public places.”

The group regularly issues public calls for lone-wolf action, posting “kill lists” — usually of military or government figures.

But followers of the group have increasingly begun to take aim at so-called soft targets — public places with a large gathering of people.

Friday’s alert comes just days after a man drove a truck through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12. ISIS has published a video of the attacker, who is now dead, pledging allegiance to the group. 

The bulletin also follows the deadly July rampage in Nice, France, when a man killed 86 people by driving a cargo truck down a busy street of people celebrating Bastille Day.