- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2024

Federal law enforcement agencies have issued a warning about terrorists potentially targeting LGBTQ-related events during Pride month in June. 

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security said in a joint statement that foreign terrorist organizations “may seek to exploit increased gatherings” tied to the annual celebration.

“Foreign Terrorist Organization’s efforts to commit or inspire violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride celebrations or LGBTQIA+-related venues, are compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other western countries,” the agencies said last week. “FTOs and their supporters have previously promoted anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and targeted LGBTQIA+ related events or venues for attacks.”   

The notice didn’t mention any specific cities or events that terrorists may target.  

The agencies provided two examples of terror attacks from 2023, including a knife attack last June at a Pride parade in Vienna, Austria, that was tied to three alleged ISIS sympathizers, and ISIS messaging that “focused anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and rallied against the growth and promotion of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Officials also noted that June 12 is the eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were gunned down and another 53 were wounded.

The mass shooting was the deadliest attack on LGBTQ people in U.S. history. Omar Mateen, the gunman who pledged allegiance to ISIS and was championed by foreign terrorists, was killed during a police standoff.

New York City police told NBC News the department already has plans in place to keep Pride celebrants safe next month.

“The New York Police Department provides a significant and complex counterterrorism overlay to the events and celebrations around Pride month each June in New York City,” NYPD told the network. “The department’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Bureau also closely monitors all relevant streams of intelligence, in real time, as they relate to foreign terrorist groups or domestic violent extremists.”

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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