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18 May, 2024 20:07

US issues gay events terror-attack warning

The State Department’s advisory says “foreign terrorist organizations” could strike during upcoming Pride month celebrations
US issues gay events terror-attack warning

There is an increased risk of terrorist attacks at LGBTQ events worldwide in the coming weeks, the US Department of State has warned. Earlier this month, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a similar advisory regarding potential security risks during June, the month of Pride celebrations.

Having started out back in 1970 in the US as marches for gay rights, Pride month celebrations have since spread to many other countries, mostly European ones. Nowadays, such events promoting same-sex relations enjoy varying degrees of government support in most Western nations. However, in Muslim countries, in Russia and in other states professing to espouse conservative and religious values, such gatherings are banned under local laws.

In an advisory released on Friday, Washington urged “U.S. citizens overseas to exercise increased caution” in light of the “potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.” According to the document, foreign terrorist organizations could target “LGBTQI+ persons and events.”

American nationals should be particularly alert at “pride celebrations and venues frequented by LGBTQI+ persons” as well as tourist attractions.

On May 10, The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security also issued a warning, claiming that “foreign terrorist organizations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month.” The US authorities did not provide details about any particular at-risk locations and regions, or the specific nature of the presumed threats.

The release pointed out that LGBTQ-themed events have in the past been targeted by terrorists, including the deadly mass shooting at Pulse gay club in Florida in June 2016. 29-year-old Omar Mateen, who had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist organization, mowed down 49 revelers, also leaving 53 wounded.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security also noted that Austrian authorities detained three suspected Islamic State sympathizers in Vienna last June who were suspected to have been planning an attack on a Pride event there.

The advisory urged US nationals to look out for any violent threats related to LGBTQI+ events posted online.

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