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ISIS, Al Qaeda ‘Inspired by Hamas’ to Attack Americans and Israelis, US Intel Chief Says



US Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said on Monday that the Islamist terrorist groups al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) have been inspired by Hamas to attack Americans and Israelis.

“While it is too early to tell, both al Qaeda and ISIS, inspired by Hamas, have directed supporters to conduct attacks against Israeli and US interests,” Haines testified to the US Senate Intelligence Committee. “And we have seen how it is inspiring individuals to conduct acts of antisemitism and Islamophobic terror worldwide.”

Antisemitism has skyrocketed since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel launched the current war in Gaza, which is ruled by the Palestinian terrorist group. Antisemitic incidents have reached record levels in the US and several European countries following the Hamas atrocities, which resulted in the largest mass slaughter of Jews since the Holocaust by the Nazis during World War II.

“It is likely that the Gaza conflict will have a generational impact on terrorism,” Haines told US lawmakers. “The crisis in Gaza is a stark example of how regional developments have the potential of broader and even global implications.”

Haines also noted concerns that the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza could spread global insecurity: “The crisis in Gaza is a stark example of how regional developments have the potential of broader and even global implications.”

Hezbollah has been attacking northern Israel from Lebanon almost daily since the outbreak of the war, and during that time the Houthis have been targeting shipping in the Red Sea from Yemen. Both Islamist terrorist groups are backed by Iran, as is Hamas.

Haines was testifying alongside other US intelligence chiefs. Their testimony came as US intelligence agencies released their 2024 Annual Threat Assessment, which concluded that the country faces an “increasingly fragile world order,” strained by great power competition, transnational challenges, and regional conflicts.

“An ambitious but anxious China, a confrontational Russia, some regional powers, such as Iran, and more capable non-state actors are challenging longstanding rules of the international system as well as US primacy within it,” the agencies said in their report.

The report largely focused on threats from China and Russia, more than two years after Russia invaded Ukraine. It also noted the risks of broader conflict related to Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Gaza since the Oct. 7 massacre.

The hearing also touched on how the Israel-Hamas war could impact the US homeland, where illegal immigration across the southern border from Mexico has reached record levels.

FBI Director Christopher Wray expressed concern about the “terrorism implications from potential targeting of vulnerabilities at the border,” pointing to heightened threats from Americans inspired by Islamist and other foreign terrorist groups since the Oct. 7 atrocities.

“The threat has gone to a whole new level,” Wray said.

At one point, a protester interrupted the hearing, shouting about the need to protect civilians in Gaza. After the interruption, Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns was asked about children in the Palestinian enclave.

“The reality is that there are children who are starving,” he said. “They’re malnourished as a result of the fact that humanitarian assistance can’t get to them. It’s very difficult to distribute humanitarian assistance effectively unless you have a ceasefire.”

The Biden administration has called for a six-week ceasefire to help address the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where Hamas embeds itself in the civilian population and hides among a complex network of underground tunnels. The Islamist terrorist group has been accused of using the civilian population and civilian sites, such as hospitals, as human shields while fighting Israel.