Americans should be extra alert and careful even- or especially- this season of festivities and gatherings as the terrorist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ( ISIS) sympathizers may likely carry out attacks on holiday events, including supposedly " sacred" places as churches.
The warning was issued by FBI and the Department of Homeland Security via a bulletin to law enforcement agencies and private security companies all over the U.S. Officials clarified, however, that there are no known or " credible" threats but that it won't hurt the authorities and the public to be extra careful and alert given that the terrorist group's sympathizers have been issuing very public threats.
Authorities have detected a pro-ISIS social media group in Telegram publishing earlier this week a publicly available directory of churches across the 50 states of America, with the chilling call for " bloody celebration in the Christian New Year."
Another post in the group egged on their followers to target " churches, well-known hotels, crowded coffee shops, streets, markets and public places".
ISIS supporters in the past have focused their public threats more on military and law enforcement targets. But recently, the threats have become more brazen and expanded to include the very public type of attacks that happened on Monday's Berlin Christmas market attack, as well as in Nice, France earlier this year and in Columbus, Ohio.
The bulletin also came out with additional advisory on various signs of suspicious activity law enforcement agencies and officers should be aware of and be extra vigilant about.
The terrorist group regularly issues calls for its sympathizers to go on " lone-wolf" action, even posting " kill lists"- usually involving military or government figures. But Christmas and New Year celebrations may be appealing to terror groups and their believers because these holidays are a big deal to the Christian population which comprises a huge part of America especially since these events are celebrated also as expression of faith- and going by the twisted, vile minds of terrorists therefore present a " good opportunity" to spread their vicious hatred and unimaginable violence against a " rival" faith.