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FBI warns of IS-inspired attacks on US churches

A list of US churches on pro-IS websites prompted a warning from the FBI [AFP]

Date of publication: 24 December, 2016

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US intelligence believes that attacks could be launched on places of worship over the Christmas holidays after a list of American churches appeared on pro-IS websites.

The FBI has warned that supporters of the Islamic State group have been calling for their sympathisers to attack holiday gatherings in the US over the Christmas period.

Federal authorities and the department of homeland security issued the note after a publicly available list of US churches was published on pro-IS websites, a law enforcement official told Reuters.

"The FBI is aware of the recent link published online that urges attacks against US churches. As with similar threats, the FBI is tracking this matter while we investigate its credibility," the FBI said in a statement.

Islamic State group sympathisers "continue aspirational calls for attacks on holiday gatherings, including targeting churches", CNN quoted the bulletin as saying. The notice describes different signs of suspicious activity for which police should be alert, it said.

The warning comes following an attack on a German Christmas market on Monday, claimed by IS, in which 12 died when a truck rammed through the crowds.

A video emerged on Friday of suspect Anis Amri pledging allegiance to IS before carrying out the attack.

The US is currently leading an anti-IS operation in Iraq and Syria.

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