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8 Arrested for IS Ties in US           06/12 06:07

   

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Eight people from Tajikistan with suspected ties to the 
Islamic State group have been arrested in the United States in recent days, 
according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

   The arrests took place in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles and the 
individuals, who entered the U.S. through the southern border, are being held 
on immigration violations, said the people, who were not authorized to discuss 
the ongoing investigation by name and spoke to The Associated Press on 
condition of anonymity.

   The nature of their suspected connections to the IS was not immediately 
clear, but the individuals were being tracked by the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task 
Force, or JTTF. They were in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs 
Enforcement, which made the arrests while working with the JTTF, pending 
proceedings to remove them from the country.

   The individuals from Tajikistan entered the country last spring and passed 
through the U.S. government's screening process without turning up information 
that would have identified them as potential terrorism-related concerns, said 
one of the people familiar with the matter.

   The FBI and Department of Homeland Security issued a statement confirming 
the immigration-related arrests of "several non-citizens" but did not detail 
specifics. The agencies noted that the U.S. has been in a "heightened threat 
environment."

   FBI Director Christopher Wray has said the U.S. is facing accelerating 
threats from homegrown violent extremists as well as foreign terrorist 
organizations, particularly in the aftermath of the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on 
Israel.

   He said at one recent congressional hearing that officials were "concerned 
about the terrorism implications from potential targeting of vulnerabilities at 
the border." The Biden administration in August said that it had detected and 
stopped a network attempting to smuggle people from Uzbekistan into the U.S. 
and that at least one member of the network had links to a foreign terrorist 
group.

   "The FBI and DHS will continue working around the clock with our partners to 
identify, investigate, and disrupt potential threats to national security," the 
agencies said.

 
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