The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), says it has uncovered a plot by Islamist terrorist group, al-Qaeda, to carry out large scale strikes on the United States following the killing of its leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, along with late Osama bin Laden, who was a key planner of the attacks on the World Trade Centre on September 11, 2001, was killed in an early morning drone strike while hiding in a safehouse in central Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan last Sunday.
FBI Director, Christopher Wray, who revealed the plot in a statement on Friday, said he remains worried about the “potential for a large-scale attack planned or inspired by al-Qaeda despite the killing of its top leader.”
“Both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State as well as their affiliates intend to carry out or inspire large-scale attacks in the United States,” Wray said during testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Asked if al-Qaeda or the Islamic State would strike at the United States if given the opportunity, Wray said:
“Oh, yeah! In the near term, however, al-Qaida, with its leadership degraded, is more likely to focus on cultivating its international affiliates and supporting small-scale attacks in regions such as East and West Africa.
“And I’m worried about the possibility that we’ll see al-Qaida reconstruct, ISIS-K taking potential advantage of the deteriorating security environment, and I’m worried about terrorists, including here in the United States, being inspired by what they see over there,” he added.
Wray also confirmed that the FBI is investigating a number of Afghan refugees who were airlifted to the United States last year despite security concerns.
The refugees were part of the more than 80,000 Afghan evacuees moved to the United States following the Taliban takeover last August.
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