- The Washington Times - Friday, August 13, 2021

Homeland Security issued a new terrorist threat alert Friday saying it has detected signs of life in al Qaeda ahead of the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

The signs of life included the Islamist terrorist organization issuing its first new magazine in more than four years.

Homeland Security also reiterated its warnings over dangers stemming from what it has come to call racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists. It said that “increased societal strains” during the coronavirus pandemic may spur greater violence from those elements.

“The reopening of institutions, including schools, as well as several dates of religious significance over the next few months, could also provide increased targets of opportunity for violence though there are currently no credible or imminent threats identified to these locations,” the department said.

And Homeland Security again blamed Russia, China and Iran for fomenting discord by amplifying ongoing battles over the origins of the coronavirus and the efficacy of vaccines.

Under the Biden administration, the federal government has placed a special emphasis on domestic groups, and the new threat assessment devotes more coverage to those groups than the other threats.

“These actors are increasingly exploiting online forums to influence and spread violent extremist narratives and promote violent activity,” the department said.

The al Qaeda warning comes a month ahead of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that left nearly 3,000 people dead.

Homeland Security said al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula issued the first English-language installment of its Inspire magazine in more than four years, “which demonstrates that foreign terrorist organizations continue efforts to inspire U.S.-based individuals susceptible to violent extremist influences.”

The threat assessment expires Nov. 11.

Homeland Security said its responses, in addition to vigilance and cooperation, include “advancing authoritative sources of information” to try to head off what it called “false narratives.”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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