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State Department issues worldwide alert, warns of violence against LGBTQ community

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By Margaret Brennan, Andres Triay, Nicole Sganga, Olivia Gazis, Camilla Schick, Sam Vinograd

May 17, 2024 / 6:11 PM EDT / CBS News

The State Department on Friday issued a worldwide caution security alert, warning of “the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.” 

The threat warning is a result of intelligence citing threats by ISIS against Pride events in parts of Europe, three sources told CBS News. 

The State Department bulletin cites “increased potential for foreign terrorist organization-inspired violence against LGBTQI+ persons and events.” The last such global threat warning was issued in October 2023.

Friday’s alert follows one from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security last week that warned of the “potential targeting of LGBTQIA+-related events and venues.” 

“Foreign terrorist organizations or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month,” it said. 

June is PRIDE month with events and celebrations in much of the Western world, including the U.S. 

While the State Department bulletin is meant for overseas travel, there is concern about a domestic threat from ISIS, two sources told CBS News. 

An unclassified intelligence bulletin obtained by CBS News and dated May 10 says, “Since January 2024, ISIS has successfully conducted external operations in Iran, Russia, and Turkey; called for attacks against the West; and has promised to exact revenge on its enemies, which could include the LGBTQIA+ community.”

In May, the Joint Counterterrorism Assessment Team — which includes inputs from FBI, DHS and the National Counterterrorism Center — also issued guidance on violent extremist attacks, plotting and messaging against the LGBTQIA+ community. That document flagged an incident from October 2023 in which a user of a well-known U.S. video game company who publicly swore allegiance to Hamas and ISIS posted videos calling for such attacks. The guidance urged greater engagement between the LGBTQIA+ community and public safety officials. 

The last significant ISIS attack was in March in Moscow, Russia. 

“We continue to work with our partners to evaluate the threat environment, provide updates to the American public, and protect our homeland. We urge the public to stay vigilant and to promptly report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement Friday. 

First published on May 17, 2024 / 6:11 PM EDT

© 2024 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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