The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued a domestic terrorism alert, warning that the country may face heightened threats from domestic violent extremists in the wake of the deadly January 6 Capitol riot.
The alert, the first this year, was issued on Wednesday and will remain until April 30, according to a bulletin issued through the DHS National Terrorist Advisory System (NTAS).
Domestic violent extremists (DVEs) have been “motivated by a range of issues, including anger over Covid-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results, and police use of force”, the bulletin said, adding that it is “concerned these same drivers to violence will remain through early 2021”.
“Threats of violence against critical infrastructure, including the electric, telecommunications and healthcare sectors, increased in 2020 with violent extremists citing misinformation and conspiracy theories about Covid-19 for their actions,” it added.
The NTAS however, is the lowest-level type of advisory issued by the Department, warning of general trends rather than specific credible threats, according to local media reports.
It was last used to issue a public warning in January 2020, when DHS issued a bulletin over potential retaliation by Iran for the US assassination of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq.
In 2019, the DHS issued a bulletin through the same system to highlight the threat from foreign terrorist groups like the Islamic State or the Al Qaeda.