Abstract: On October 7, 2023, Hamas—in coalition with a range of other groups including Palestinian Islamic Jihad—initiated the group’s largest ever terrorist attack on Israel, killing 1,200 Israelis and taking more than 240 hostages. The subsequent Israeli air and land offensive in Gaza has resulted in thousands of Palestinians being killed, creating outrage across Arab and Muslim communities around the world of the kind that terrorist groups can exploit. Three factors are likely to determine the impact of the ongoing events on the trajectory of the terrorism threat in the West: the length of the war, the scale of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, and the degree of support from Western nations to Israel.

With the events in the Midde East creating the kind of anger in Arab and Muslim communities around the world that can be readily exploited by violent Islamist extremist actors, there is growing concern about a resurgence in the terrorist threat in the West. In congressional testimony on October 31, 2023, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated, “the ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the United States to a whole other level.”1 French President Emanuel Macron, for his part, on October 17 stated there was a “resurgence of Islamist terrorism” with all countries in Europe being “vulnerable.”2

Already, there are signs of a new wave of Islamist terrorism. On October 16, just nine days after the Hamas attack on Israel, Abdessalem Lassoued, a 45-year-old Tunisian living in Brussels, attacked and killed two Swedish soccer fans while wounding another.3 Lassoued initially managed to escape, but after an extensive manhunt, he was killed the following morning in a café in the Schaerbeek district of the city. While it appears that his motivation for specifically targeting Swedish nationals, identified through their Swedish soccer shirts, was the Qur’an burnings that took place in Sweden over the summer and fall,4 postings on his social media profile including images of the Dome of the Rock suggest that the war in Gaza was a contributing factor or at least a matter of concern for the perpetrator.5 Immediately following his attack, Lassoued posted a video to his Facebook account pledging allegiance to the Islamic State, and two days later, the group issued a claim of responsibility.6 Reminiscent of the type of attack seen in the wave of terrorism between 2014 and 2018 in the West, this was the first attack claimed by the Islamic State in a Western country in almost three years, with the previous one being a November 2, 2020, attack in Vienna.7

While Lassoued’s killings appear to have only been marginally associated with current events in Gaza, his actions were not the only recent example of violence in the West likely connected to the war. On Friday, October 13, 2023, Hamas called for protests in what they wanted to be a ‘day of rage’ for Muslims around the world. Whether connected or not, on the same day a man stabbed an employee at the Israeli embassy in Beijing,8 and just a few hours later, Mohammed Mogouchkov, a 20-year-old Chechen man living in France, entered the Lycée Gambetta high school in Arras in northeastern France carrying a knife and killed a teacher and wounded another person. It was later revealed that Mogouchkov had recorded a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.9

Several other Western countries have also been affected. In Berlin, on October 18, a synagogue was attacked with two petrol bombs, but fortunately, no one was wounded.10 Furthermore, in a number of Montreal suburbs, Jewish institutions have recently been targeted by gunfire and fire bombs.11

In the United Kingdom, an asylum seeker reportedly carried out a terrorist attack, and although few details were disclosed by authorities, the perpetrator explained his actions were the result of the fact that “Israel had killed children in Gaza.”12 While the United States has not witnessed any Gaza-related terrorist attacks as of the time of publication, the U.S. authorities issued a warning to citizens to “exercise increased caution” when traveling abroad.13 a

In reaction to the attack in Arras, France raised its threat level to Emergency Attack Level, which is the highest on its threat scale,14 while Belgium in the wake of the attack there raised the threat level in Brussels to the top level four before lowering it to level three again.15 The rising threat to the European continent is not that surprising according to terrorism expert Marc Sageman, who says that Europe is most at risk because of its “proportionately larger Muslim populations and more porous borders,” which makes “the number of possible lone actors … hard to track.”16 In France, Minister of Interior Gérald Darmanin in early November reported a stark rise in anti-Semitic acts in the country with more than 480 people arrested since October 7,17 and on November 4, a Jewish woman was stabbed in the stomach in what appears to have been an anti-Semitic attack.18 A similar increase in anti-Semitic violence has been witnessed in the United Kingdom19 with London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, expressing a concern over a “rise of extremism.”20

Reports to the United Kingdom’s anti-terror hotline between October 7 and 15 doubled compared to the same period the previous year, with the number of reports containing information classed as significant quadrupling. U.K. police say the Israel-Gaza conflict could have an “energising effect” on those considering attacks. Although the U.K. threat level has not been raised from its current level of substantial since the Israeli offensive into Gaza, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor of Counter Terrorism Policing has said the resulting increase in tensions “can have an energising effect on people who may be considering, or even planning, to commit violent acts on UK soil.”21

In his October 31 congressional testimony, FBI Director Wray stated that “we assess that the actions of Hamas and its allies will serve as an inspiration the likes of which we haven’t seen since ISIS launched its so-called caliphate years ago. In just the past few weeks, multiple foreign terrorist organizations have called for attacks against Americans and the West. Al-Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the United States in the last five years. ISIS urged its followers to target Jewish communities in the United States and Europe.” He added: “Here in the United States, our most immediate concern is that violent extremists—individuals or small groups—will draw inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks against Americans going about their daily lives. That includes not just homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization but also domestic violent extremists targeting Jewish or Muslim communities.”22

This article assesses how the war between Hamas and Israel is likely to affect the Islamist terrorism threat in the West with a specific focus on Jewish targets. It first discusses the position of Israel/Palestine in violent Islamist ideology, and the potential mobilizing power within Muslim communities in the West of the war in the region. It then assesses potential threat actors before ending with an assessment of the threat and how it might evolve in the coming weeks and months.

A police car is parked near the house in the Schaerbeek area of Brussels on October 17, 2023, where the suspected perpetrator of the attack in Brussels was shot dead during a police intervention. (John Thys/AFP via Getty Images)

The Mobilizing Power of the Palestinian Issue
Few issues have the potential to radicalize and mobilize Islamist extremists as much as their desire for the ‘liberation’ of Palestine and the destruction of Israel. For Islamist extremists, these objectives are core narratives in their ideology, and for a broader segment of Muslims around the world, the political tensions between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors are a powerful source of anger and frustration.

Jerusalem is the third holiest place in Islam. Jews, and specifically Israel, are considered by Islamist extremists as staunch enemies of Islam. Within this worldview, the United States is regarded as either being controlled by Jews or the protector/enabler of the Jewish State, or all the above and is thus singled out for particular animus. When the United States in December 2017 recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a range of jihadi groups threatened the U.S. homeland.23

The Israel-Palestine issue has always been a central feature of jihadi ideology across its various iterations. For one of the godfathers of the jihadi movement, Abdallah Azzam, a native of the West Bank, the liberation of Palestine was always the primary objective, but due to the “inaccessibility of the battlefield after 1970 combined with Azzam’s distaste for the leftist PLO,” he headed east to Afghanistan.24 Azzam’s mentee, Usama bin Ladin, similarly viewed the liberation of Palestine as a key priority at first, identifying the struggle and the fight against Israel in both of his major statements relating to jihad in 1996 and 1998.25 In terms of operational activities, however, bin Ladin’s al-Qa`ida never really dedicated its focus to the cause, but the late al-Qa`ida leader would regularly refer to the liberation of Palestine and the fight “against the Zionist occupiers” as a means to win support and to mobilize his followers.26

Bin Ladin’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, would employ a similar exploitative use of the Palestinian issue, although he publicly degraded its importance in 1995 by claiming that “the road to Jerusalem passes through Cairo.”27 As others have noted, al-Zawahiri nonetheless endorsed “every operation against Jewish interests” and promised to “strive as much as we can to deal blows to the Jews inside Israel and outside it.”28 In reality, however, al-Qa`ida rarely targeted Israel or Jewish interests, but the constant references to the liberation of Palestine and the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem served as a useful propaganda tool.29 The Islamic State and its predecessor organizations adopted a similar, albeit less intense, rhetorical focus on Palestine and Israel through occasional articles in its publications focusing on the imperative to liberate Palestine and striking Israel and its allies across the world.30

A September 2023 CTC Sentinel analysis of the global jihadi threat to Israel and Jewish communities around the world found that the “Palestinian issue and specific ‘trigger events’ related to the Arab-Israeli conflict tend to generate favorable declarations on the part of both al-Qa`ida and the Islamic State, but that jihadi rhetoric is rarely translated into violent attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets. The relative dearth of successful operations, however, has not deterred global jihadi organizations from regularly leveraging the Palestinian issue for political gain, and in order to reinforce their stature as powerful actors in the Middle Eastern and global arenas.”31

The emotional resonance of the Palestinian issue means that the current conflict is creating anger among much broader segments of Muslims than salafi jihadis. As was evident with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, such conflicts can radicalize and mobilize individuals who are not otherwise sympathetic to violent Islamist ideologies due to the feelings of anger and frustration that they produce. This is even more so the case with the political conflict relating to Palestine and Israel. Jihadi groups thus hope to reach a broader audience with their releases of extremist propaganda and their calls to act.32

The loss of life at the al-Ahli Arab hospital carpark in Gaza on October 17 is illustrative of how specific events can have deep emotional affect and possibly mobilize individuals to action. While Hamas blamed the strike on Israel, Western governments, including the United States, assessed it to be a failed Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket that caused the tragedy.33 Many, however, in the Muslim world saw it as an Israeli attack, creating the kind of anger and emotional outrage that jihadi groups can exploit. At the time of writing, according to the United Nations, since the beginning of the Israeli military offensive more than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza.34

Assessing Potential Threat Actors
This section identifies the potential terror actors in the West that may look to exploit the war between Hamas and Israel. While there should be concern that sympathizers of groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qa`ida could launch attacks, the threat landscape in the West is more complex than that due to ideological specificities and the broad resonance of the Palestinian conflict within Muslim communities.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad
In his October 31 testimony, FBI Director Wray stated that the FBI “cannot—and do not—discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here on our own soil. We’ve kept our sights on Hamas and have multiple ongoing investigations into individuals affiliated with that foreign terrorist organization. And while historically our Hamas cases have identified individuals located here who are facilitating and financing Hamas’ terrorism overseas, we’re continuing to scrutinize our intelligence to assess how the threat may be evolving.”35

Notwithstanding the fact that the group’s extreme brutality on October 7 shattered previous assumptions about the approach of the group, it seems unlikely that Hamas would call for or be involved in attacks in the West. Hamas is, despite its radical ideology and historic connections with a myriad of extremist actors, a nationalist Islamist group with its focus at least until now exclusively dedicated to the historic land of Palestine. According to its 2017 charter:

Palestine is the cause of a people who have been let down by a world that fails to secure their rights and restore to them what has been usurped from them, a people whose land continues to suffer one of the worst types of occupation in this world. Palestine is a land that was seized by a racist, anti-human and colonial Zionist project that was founded on a false promise (the Balfour Declaration), on recognition of a usurping entity and on imposing a fait accompli by force. Palestine symbolizes the resistance that shall continue until liberation is accomplished, until the return is fulfilled and until a fully sovereign state is established with Jerusalem as its capital.36

Ideologically, Hamas is very different from even more extreme groups such as al-Qa`ida and the Islamic State.37 Besides substantial differences in their interpretation of creed, Hamas differs in its nationalist agenda and its acceptance, albeit nominally, of democratic processes. The group won a majority of votes in Palestinian legislative elections in 2006.38 Hamas has never been associated with any terrorist attacks in the West, and because its focus has been exclusively on Palestine, it remains very unlikely that Hamas would orchestrate or call for attacks outside the region.

Despite its more extreme ideological leanings and clandestine nature, Palestinian Islamic Jihad is similar to Hamas: a nationalist group whose focus is explicitly on the occupation of Palestine and the group has also never been involved in attacks in the West.

Al-Qa`ida continues to support terrorism in Western states, including against Jewish targets39 such as Mohamed Merah’s killings of a rabbi and three Jewish children in Toulouse, France, in 2012.40 For al-Qa`ida, the anger within Muslim communities in the West presents an attractive opportunity to incite terrorism by offering religious and political justification and through direct calls for attacks. However, al-Qa`ida’s continued leadership debacle with no new leader after al-Zawahiri publicly announced may hamper its ability to take advantage of the situation.

Al-Qa`ida’s central media organization, Al-Sahab, and all al-Qa`ida affiliates have already issued formal statements of support for Palestinian armed groups fighting against Israel,41 while both the affiliates in Yemen (AQAP) and in Pakistan (AQIS) have called for attacks in the West in support of the Hamas war against Israel,42 with the latter, according to the NYPD, “calling for attacks on Americans, British and French nationals.”43 On October 29, 2023, AQAP posted a one-hour Arabic-language video entitled: “Questions and Answers Regarding Operation Al-Aqsa Flood” featuring the group’s leader, Khalid Batarfi, praising the Hamas attack. Reciting well-worn themes articulated over the years by bin Ladin and other al-Qa`ida leaders about the need to fight back against a Jewish/Crusader conspiracy against Islam, he stated that Israel depended on American support, depicted Israeli actions in Gaza as part of a broader war on Islam, exhorted Muslims to remove their rulers, and called for attacks against Jews around the world as well as American, British, and French nationals. He concluded: “Our ummah is under occupation. We must rise up and fight for the sake of Allah. We must get our ummah from the state of loss. This duty is not limited to the mujahideen of Al-Qaeda and other groups, but it is the duty on all Muslims without exception.”44

These exhortations come only two months after al-Qa`ida issued a call for attacks against Sweden and Denmark in retaliation for the recurring burnings of the Qur’an in the two Scandinavian countries.45 While these statements of solidarity with Palestinian fighters in Gaza and calls for attacks indicate al-Qa`ida’s clear intention to exploit the war to instigate terrorism in the West, it seems unlikely given the current state of its capabilities that al-Qa`ida will be able to orchestrate significant attacks in the near future.

In recent years, after its attack-plotting capacity was eroded in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and Yemen, the al-Qa`ida network has mostly looked to terrorist entrepreneurs and sympathizers to engage in terrorism in the West on its behalf. Such ‘outsourcing’ of terrorism is likely to continue. Yet, al-Qa`ida understands the power of its propaganda in encouraging individuals to act and the propaganda’s resonance among a broader segment of Muslims than simply its own supporters. Hence, there is a real risk that sympathizers of al-Qa`ida or individuals following its propaganda will respond to its calls to carry out attacks in Western states supporting Israel and specifically against Israeli interests.

The Islamic State
For the Islamic State, the current situation represents a conundrum. The group considers Hamas and most other militants in Palestine as apostates and, in contrast to al-Qa`ida, it has largely remained quiet on Hamas’ war with Israel, with one exception being an October 20 editorial in its al Naba newsletter. Like other violent Islamist groups, the Islamic State views Jews and Israel as existential enemies that can and should be fought, and the group has previously claimed attacks in Israel,46 though, as noted above, it never really prioritized the fight against Israel or the liberation of Palestine.47

Praising Hamas for its attack and rallying to its support against a common enemy is out of the question for the Islamic State. In the Al Naba editorial, the group wholeheartedly supported the struggle for Palestine but criticized the ongoing war because of its limited nature. Rather than focusing exclusively on Israel/Palestine, the Islamic State editorial framed the battle as a global struggle targeting Jews and their interests and allies across the world.48

It is likely that the Islamic State will continue to seek to exploit the radicalization and mobilization caused by the war in Gaza. In Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State is currently suffering from repeated leadership decapitation, and it is nowhere near its previous strength. While this arguably limits its ability to take full advantage of the volatile political situation in the region, it may also provide it with the kind of environment in which it can escalate its activities and, in the event the conflict turns more regional, reclaim some of its prominence. The Islamic State will likely also strive to exploit the conflict by trying to inspire further attacks in the West. As already noted, prior to this October, the group had not managed to plausibly claim ownership of an attack in the West since the Vienna attack of November 2020.

As the author outlined in a recent article in CTC Sentinel, the Islamic State’s institutionalization of external operations planning and execution has undergone revision in recent years but despite these changes, the group has not recently been successful in orchestrating any attacks.49 In the current highly charged atmosphere, the Islamic State is now in a position to take advantage of growing radicalization and polarization in Western societies and call on its supporters to act in its name. Already, in the wake of October 7, there have been two attacks linked to support for the group in France and Belgium. They will likely not be the last.

Hezbollah and Iranian Actors
There should be concern that Hezbollah, which is already involved in clashes with Israel across the Israel-Lebanon border, could launch attacks in the West because of its history of terrorism and attack planning against Jewish and Israeli targets in Western countries.50 This includes the 2012 bombing of a bus carrying Israeli tourists outside the airport in the Bulgarian Black Sea city of Burgas, killing six.51 There will also need to be vigilance about Iranian actors directly carrying out acts of violence in the West.

In his congressional testimony, FBI Director Wray stated, “As the world’s largest state-sponsor of terrorism, the Iranians, for instance, have directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former U.S. government officials, including right here on American soil. And, along those lines, Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has a history of seeding operatives and infrastructure, obtaining money and weapons, and spying in this country going back years.”52 In August 2022, the U.S. government released details about an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) plot to kill former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton. It was reported the plot also targeted former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.53

In a February 2022 study for CTC Sentinel, Matthew Levitt documented how over a 40-year period Iran has pursued “international assassination, abduction, terror, and surveillance plots in a very aggressive fashion.” As noted in the study, “in February 2021, a Belgian court convicted Assadollah Assadi, an Iranian diplomat based in Vienna, of organizing a July 2018 plot to bomb the annual convention of the National Council of Resistance of Iran—the political wing of the Mujahedeen-Khlaq, MEK—near Paris.”54 In another CTC Sentinel study, Levitt noted that “in September 2019, the FBI arrested Ali Saab, an alleged Hezbollah operative who underwent military and bomb-making training in Lebanon and later collected intelligence on potential targets in New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Saab allegedly provided details on targets including the United Nations headquarters, Statue of Liberty, and New York airports, tunnels, and bridges—including detailed photographs and notes on structural weaknesses and ‘soft spots’ for potential Hezbollah targets ‘in order to determine how a future attack could cause the most destruction,’ according to the U.S. Department of Justice.”55

On November 8, 2023, Brazilian police thwarted an alleged Hezbollah plot to target Israeli and Jewish targets in Brazil. A total of three suspects have been arrested. Israeli authorities stated that the plot was “planned by the Hezbollah terrorist organization, directed and financed by Iran.” A Brazilian official with information about the plot told the Associated Press that the two suspects were recruited and financed by Hezbollah. Local media reported that police arrested one of the suspects when they flew into Sao Paulo from Lebanon with information to carry out the attack. Brazil’s justice minister said the Brazilian investigation started before October 7.56

Notwithstanding the plot in Brazil, in recent years, Hezbollah’s main activities in the West appear to be related to funding and propaganda rather than plotting attacks.57 While the group controls extensive networks in both the United States and in Europe, its immediate priority remains activities in Lebanon and neighboring countries. In this author’s assessment the risk that the group will utilize its Western-based networks to execute attacks is currently small but it could change depending on how the war evolves. Any connection to terrorism in the West, including orchestrating or sponsoring an attack, would undoubtedly result in strong political and military pressure on Hezbollah, but the group’s calculus could change if either Israel escalates its operations against Hezbollah or in the event that the United States gets involved and targets the group if Hezbollah carries out large-scale strikes into Israel.

In a November 3, 2023, speech, Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah signaled that Hezbollah would only significantly escalate against Israel if Hamas looked like it was on a path to defeat in Gaza or if Israel intensified its strikes into Lebanon.b In a worst-case scenario in which Hezbollah all-out escalates against Israel, the United States militarily intervenes against the group, and Hezbollah decides on striking in the West or against Western interests in retaliation, it could employ a strategy of virtual entrepreneurs in the West similar to what the group has used to mobilize for violence in Israel.58

Frustrated and Radicalized Individuals
Arguably the most worrying threat does not stem from a planned or coordinated attack from a specific terrorist group, but from radicalized and frustrated individuals with no organizational affiliation. A string of such attacks, including the beheading of the French school teacher Samuel Paty, took place in 2020 in the aftermath of the re-publication of the drawings of the prophet Muhammad in France. These attackers acted in revenge against perceived humiliation of their religion.59

The emotional resonance of the Palestinian issue risks radicalizing significant numbers of individuals to violence in the West. Because such individuals do not necessarily have a history with extremism or any known extremist organization, they are typically much harder for security and intelligence services to identify and track. Illustrative of this trend, after Israel began launching airstrikes in Gaza in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack, MI5 Director-General Ken McCallum stated there was a danger that “self-initiated” individuals who may have been radicalized online could react in “spontaneous or unpredictable ways” in the United Kingdom.60

Assessing the Threat Landscape
While there is no shortage of actors who are interested in exploiting the current tense political climate to either execute or instigate terrorism in the West, there are three specific factors that are likely to determine the evolving threat level: how long the war continues, the intensity of Israel’s offensive in Gaza, and the degree of support from Western nations to Israel.61

Continuation of the war: The longer the war continues, the greater the risk that it manifests in terrorist attacks in the West. A prolonged war scenario will have a stronger radicalizing effect on Western-based individuals and thus heighten the risk of mobilization to violence. This is especially true if the war escalates in terms of brutality as it evolves, which is typically the case and hard to avoid in the context of urban warfare.

Israel’s offensive against Gaza and its exposure: The scale and character of Israel’s ongoing air and land offensive in Gaza will have a major impact on how Muslim communities worldwide are likely to react and the degree to which there will be fertile conditions for jihadi groups to inspire violence and recruit. Social media will play a central role in terms of transmitting the impact of the offensive to an external audience. Previous conflicts have demonstrated how the exposure to war and extreme episodes of violence through social media can push people to act. Hamas, Hezbollah, and global jihadi groups are all seeking to exploit this potential with extensive misinformation about the war shared on their online channels.

Western support to Israel: There will also likely be some degree of correlation between the level of support that Western states offer to Israel and the terrorism threat that they experience. Attacks have previously been carried out to punish a certain foreign policy—for example, Omar Mateen’s June 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting62—or in an attempt to affect states’ future behavior such as the Madrid bombing in 2004 that intended to pressure Spain to withdraw from Iraq.63 It should therefore be anticipated that Islamist terrorists would execute attacks to influence a given state’s level of support to Israel.

In assessing the terrorism threat, security and intelligence services typically look at the prevalence of intent and capability to execute attacks. As argued in this article, the war between Hamas and Israel, and specifically the three factors above, will likely raise the level of intent within radicalized and extremist communities to act on their frustration. While ‘simple attacks’ as those executed in recent weeks require few skills, the capability to execute more complex attacks rely on networks and the involvement of established terrorist groups and are less likely in the short term because the Islamic State and al-Qa`ida networks are at a low ebb in many places.

Although global jihadis have a significant presence in East and West Africa (e.g., al-Shabaab and JNIMc) as well as Afghanistan (e.g., Islamic State Khorasan), no group has extensive territorial control similar to the Islamic State during the height of its power in Syria and Iraq nor the kind of safe haven enjoyed by al-Qa`ida in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region and in Yemen in the decade or so after 9/11, which is crucial to groups’ capability to direct and organize terrorist attacks in the West.d There is a real risk, however, that the recent attacks are just the beginning of a new wave of Islamist terrorism in the West.     CTC

Tore Hamming holds a Ph.D. in Jihadism from the European University Institute and is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, King’s College. Hamming is currently working on several larger projects on the Islamic State in sub-Saharan Africa and on the intersection between technology and extremism. He is the founder of Refslund Analytics. X: @ToreRHamming

© 2023 Tore Hamming

Substantive Notes
[a] On October 19, a 20-year-old Jordanian national living in Texas was arrested on a federal firearms possession charge. According to federal investigators, the man allegedly trained with others of a “radical mindset” to “possibly commit an attack” after he illegally obtained firearms. A law enforcement source told CNN that the man was “plotting to attack a Jewish gathering.” It is important to note that much of the Jordanian man’s alleged threatening activity took place before October 7. Robert Legare and Anders Triay, “20-year-old Jordanian national living in Texas allegedly ‘trained with weapons to possibly commit an attack,’” feds say,” CBS News, October 31, 2023; Alisha Ebrahimji, John Miller, Sabrina Shulman, and Raja Razek, “Jordanian arrested in Houston supported killing ‘individuals of particular faiths,’ judge’s order said,” CNN, November 13, 2023.

[b] Nasrallah stated: “What determine[s] our front are two things: first, the course of events in Gaza, and second, the behavior of the Zionist enemy towards Lebanon.” “Hezbollah Secretary-General commemorates martyrs, discusses Al-Aqsa Flood operation’s legitimacy,” LBC International, November 3, 2023.

[c] The al-Qa`ida affiliate Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin

[d] In congressional testimony on October 31, 2023, NCTC director Christine Abizaid stated: “In addition to lone actors, hierarchically organized groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS remain of concern, they are seeking to capitalize on this moment to galvanize supporters and organize for attacks. Their ability to do so from their core operating arenas is much diminished after years of counterterrorism pressure. But we are monitoring closely any attempts to leverage this crisis to rebuild or refocus against the United States. Of particular concern are the ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates in West and East Africa, the Al Qaeda branch in Yemen, and the ISIS branch that is operating out of Afghanistan.” “NCTC Director Christine Abizaid, Opening Statement, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs,” Office of the Director of National Intelligence, October 31, 2023.

[1] “Director Wray’s Opening Statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs,” FBI, October 31, 2023.

[2] “Macron says ‘Islamist terrorism’ rising in Europe, all states at risk,” Reuters, October 17, 2023.

[3] “Brussels terror suspect shot dead in Schaerbeek café,” Brussels Times, October 17, 2023.

[4] “Sweden’s PM in Brussels for commemoration, as Islamic State claims football fans deaths,” Euronews, October 18, 2023; George Wright, “Brussels shooting: ‘Europe shaken’ after two Swedes shot dead,” BBC, October 17, 2023.

[5] Tore Refslund Hamming, “Looking at information from the perpetrator’s Facebook account, there are a number of clear references to Palestine …,” X, October 16, 2023.

[6] “Islamic State claims responsibility for Brussels attack – group’s channel on Telegram,” Reuters, October 17, 2023.

[7] Tore Refslund Hamming, “The Islamic State claimed attack in Brussels was the first IS associated attack in the West since …,” X, October 18, 2023.

[8] “Israeli diplomat repeatedly stabbed by assailant in Beijing,” Times of Israel, October 13, 2023.

[9] Soren Seelow, “Arras terror attack: The perpetrator was driven by a ‘hatred of France,’ its democracy and its schools,” Le Monde, October 18, 2023.

[10] Jessica Parker and Paul Kirby, “Europe antisemitism: Berlin synagogue targeted as attacks rise,” BBC, October 19, 2023.

[11] Matthew Lapierre, “Synagogue and Jewish community centre in Montreal suburb of DDO hit by Molotov Cocktails,” CBC News, November 7, 2023.

[12] Charles Hymas, Gordon Rayner, and Craig Simpson, “Terrorist attack in UK linked to Gaza,” Telegraph, October 20, 2023.

[13] Shannon K. Crawford, “State Department issues ‘worldwide caution’ alert amid Israel-Hamas war,” ABC News, October 19, 2023.

[14] “Macron says ‘Islamist terrorism’ rising in Europe, all states at risk.”

[15] “Brussels terror attack: Threat level for Brussels lowered to three,” Brussels Times, October 17, 2023.

[16] Alan Cullison, “Gaza Fighting Risks Resurgence of Terrorist Attacks,” Wall Street Journal, October 20, 2023.

[17] “Antisemitic acts have exploded in France since 7 October, interior minister says,” Guardian, November 6, 2023.

[18] Richard Schittly, “Woman stabbed in France, prosecutor says motive possibly anti-Semitic, police sources urge ‘caution,’” Le Monde, November 4, 2023.

[19] Tom Symonds, “Hate crime soars in London during Gaza conflict,” BBC, October 27, 2023.

[20] James W. Kelly, “London mayor ‘worried’ about youth radicalisation over Israel-Gaza conflict,” BBC, November 4, 2023.

[21] “Police warn of UK attack risk as anti-terror hotline calls surge,” BBC, November 9, 2023.

[22] “Macron says ‘Islamist terrorism’ rising in Europe, all states at risk.”

[23] Pieter Van Ostaeyen and Tore Hamming, “Jihadists Respond to Trump: ‘In al-Quds we meet,’” ICCT, February 2, 2018.

[24] Thomas Hegghammer, “‘Abdallāh ‘Azzām and Palestine,” Welt des Islam, 53:3-4 (2013): pp. 353-387.

[25] Matthew Levitt, “Zawahiri Aims at Israel: Behind Al Qaeda’s Pivot to the Levant,” Washington Institute For Near East Policy, February 3, 2014.

[26] Mitchell D. Silber, “Terrorist Attacks Against Jewish Targets in the West (2012-2019): The Atlantic Divide Between European and American Attackers,” CTC Sentinel 12:5 (2019).

[27] Matthew Levitt, “Israel as an Al-Qa`ida Target – Sorting Rhetoric From Reality,” CTC Sentinel 2:10 (2009).

[28] Silber.

[29] Ido Levy, “How Big Is the Islamic State Threat in Israel?” Washington Institute for Near East Policy Fikra Forum, April 8, 2022.

[30] Cole Bunzel, “The Islamic State vs. the Jewish State: How the Caliphate Views Israel,” Jihadica, April 15, 2022.

[31] Lorena Atiyas-Lvovsky, Eitan Azani, Michael Barak, and Assaf Moghadam, “CTC-ICT Focus on Israel: In Word and Deed? Global Jihad and the Threat to Israel and the Jewish Community,” CTC Sentinel 16:9 (2023).

[32] See an interesting example from al-Shabab here: Georgia Gilroy, “How al-Shabaab is Using Social Media to Build a Bridge between Gaza and Somalia,” GNET, October 31, 2023.

[33] Natasha Bertrand, Katie Bo Lillis, and Jeremy Herb, “US assesses that Israel is ‘not responsible’ for Gaza hospital blast,” CNN, October 18, 2023; “French, Canadian Intelligence Say Palestinian Rocket, Not Israeli Airstrike, Caused Gaza Hospital Blast,” Associated Press and Reuters, October 22, 2023.

[34] “‘This must stop,’ UN chief says as deaths, displacement ripple across Gaza,” UN News, November 19, 2023.

[35] “Director Wray’s Opening Statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.”

[36] “Hamas: General Principles and Policies,” Jewish Virtual Library, n.d.

[37] Cole Bunzel, “Gaza and Global Jihad,” Foreign Affairs, November 2, 2023.

[38] Steven Erlanger, “Hamas victory in Palestinian vote stuns Mideast,” New York Times, January 26, 2006.

[39] Levitt, “Zawahiri Aims at Israel.”

[40] Silber.

[41] Tore Refslund Hamming, “[Thread] that is updated with responses and comments from Jihadi groups on the war …,” X, October 9, 2023.

[42] Cullison.

[43] Ken Dilanian, Julia Ainsley, Tom Winter, and Jonathan Dienst, “Pro-Hamas extremists and neo-Nazis flood social media with calls for violence,” NBC News, October 18, 2023.

[44] “Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Leader Batarfi Approves of ‘Inspiring’ Hamas Attack, Encourages Killing of ‘Jews, Americans, and British’ Citizens, Claims 9/11 Attacks are the ‘Best Example’ to Deter U.S.,” Memri, October 30, 2023.

[45] Richard Orange, “Al-Qaida calls for ‘revenge’ attacks on Sweden and Denmark,” Local, August 15, 2023.

[46] Levy.

[47] Bunzel, “The Islamic State vs. the Jewish State.”

[48] Tore Refslund Hamming, “The Islamic State finally comments on the war in Israel with an editorial titled …,” X, October 20, 2023.

[49] Tore Hamming, “The General Directorate of Provinces: Managing the Islamic State’s Global Network,” CTC Sentinel 16:7 (2023).

[50] Matthew Levitt, “Inside Hezbollah’s European Plots,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, July 20, 2015.

[51] Bruno Tertrais, “Is Hezbollah a threat to Europe?” American Jewish Committee, May 15, 2020.

[52] “Director Wray’s Opening Statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.”

[53] Kelly Hooper, “Bolton on Iranian assassination plot: ‘This is a real window’ into Tehran government,” Politico, August 11, 2022; Mike Allen, “Source: Iranian plot had $1M Pompeo bounty,” Axios, August 10, 2022.

[54] Matthew Levitt, “Trends in Iranian External Assassination, Surveillance, and Abduction Plots,” CTC Sentinel 15:2 (2022).

[55] Matthew Levitt, “‘Fighters Without Borders’—Forecasting New Trends in Iran Threat Network Foreign Operations Tradecraft,” CTC Sentinel 13:2 (2020).

[56] David Biller, “Police in Brazil foil an alleged attack Israel claims was planned by Hezbollah,” Associated Press, November 9, 2023; “Brazilian authorities detain third suspect in ‘terrorism’ investigation,” Al Arabiya, November 13, 2023.

[57] Anyssia S. Kokinos, Nakissa P. Jahanbani, Jon Lewis, and Devorah Margolin, Hezbollah’s Operations and Networks in the United States: Two Decades in Review (Washington: Program on Extremism at George Washington University, 2022).

[58] Michael Shkolnik and Alexander Corbeil, “Hezbollah’s ‘Virtual Entrepreneurs:’ How Hezbollah is Using the Internet to Incite Violence in Israel,” CTC Sentinel 12:9 (2019).

[59] “France teacher attack: Seven charged over Samuel Paty’s killing,” BBC, October 22, 2020; “Charlie Hebdo: Stabbings suspect ‘was trying to target magazine,’” BBC, September 26, 2020; “France church attack: What we know so far,” Al Jazeera, October 29, 2020.

[60] Dan Sabbagh, ”US and UK spy chiefs warn Middle East crisis could raise domestic terror threat,” Guardian, October 17, 2023.

[61] Cullison.

[62] Steve Visser and John Couwels, “Orlando killer repeatedly referenced ISIS, transcript shows,” CNN, September 24, 2016.

[63] “Intelbrief: 15 Years After Madrid Train Bombings, What Have We Learned,” Soufan Center, March 11, 2019.

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