ISIS reportedly wants to blow up a bridge spanning the Mississippi River in what would be the first major strike within the United States for the Islamic militant group.
The FBI uncovered plans for the terrorist attack on the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge, which connects Tennessee and Arkansas, and passed along the warning to local officials.
ISIS has taken over large areas in Iraq and Syria over the past year, enacting a brutal Islamist leadership and killing thousands of civilians who do not fall in line with their strict teachings. The United States has led air strikes against the group, wiping out several strategic targets and killing hundreds of militants.
ISIS has responded by threatening the United States and American interests abroad, and has publicly executed American hostages.
Officials said the ISIS threat to blow up the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge is likely just talk, and they do not believe any concrete plans are in place, but they are spreading the word in an “abundance of caution,” spokesman Chris Allen said.
“This is an unsubstantiated, anonymous threat,” he said, adding that officials believe no real plans have been made.
The FBI said word of the planned attack came from an anonymous tip which claimed that ISIS instructed an agent in Memphis “to blow up the Memphis-Arkansas bridge on an unknown date, activating ISIS terror cells in the United States.”
There have been past reports of ISIS trying to strike against the United States. In the summer, several reports indicated that ISIS militants were trying to cross the Mexican border and infiltrate the United States in order to carry out terrorist attacks.
These reports were disputed by Homeland Security, however, and those spreading the reports are alleged to have political motives. Administration officials claim the groups spreading the rumor were headed up by conservatives who have tried to paint President Obama as soft on immigration and failing to secure the border.
“There is no credible intelligence to suggest that there is an active plot by ISIS to attempt to cross the southern border,” Homeland Security officials said in a written statement, using an alternative name for the group now referred to as Islamic State.
The FBI did not say if the ISIS threat to blow up the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge had any specific threat or date attached.
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