Fears that Center Japanese terrorists affiliated with Islamic State (IS) try to sneak into america from Mexico seem like overblown.
U.S. counterterror officers inform VOA whereas they do have issues about vulnerabilities alongside the southern border with Mexico, IS doesn’t seem to have terrorist operatives embedded among the many migrants making their method north.
“We don’t see any proof that ISIS or different Sunni terrorist teams try to infiltrate the southern U.S. border,” a senior counterterrorism official advised VOA on situation of anonymity. The official used an acronym for the militant group.
The counterterrorism official didn’t handle Shiite terror teams, like Iran-backed Hezbollah. U.S. intelligence officers have lengthy warned of Hezbollah operatives in Central and South America related to the commerce of unlawful medication and weapons.
When requested simply over per week in the past if Center Japanese terrorists have been a part of the migrant caravans, U.S. President Donald Trump implied there have been.
“You are going to discover MS-13, you are going to discover Center Japanese, you are going to discover all the things,” he advised reporters.
A day later Trump admitted, “There isn’t any proof of something,” however insisted, “There may very nicely be.”
“I feel there’s an excellent probability you’ve gotten folks in there,” he added.
U.S. homeland safety officers have mentioned they arrest or cease, on common, about 10 terrorists a day from coming into the nation, although they haven’t specified what number of attempt to cross over from Mexico.
In latest days, Trump and different senior administration officers have sought to stoke fears, warning the caravans pose an imminent hazard.
“It is like an invasion,” the president mentioned Thursday. “We’ve no selection. … We are going to defend our border.”
On Friday, Homeland Safety Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen mentioned a number of the folks within the caravans have been “fairly violent.”
“By the point we’re speaking about Molotov cocktails and use of firearms, it is my obligation to make sure our officers and brokers are safe,” Nielsen mentioned.
“After I met with my counterparts in one of many nations within the area lately, they have been very involved as a result of they’d lacking kids,” she added. “There have been kidnappings.”
Nielsen’s feedback appeared to construct on fears raised in a press release from DHS late Thursday that mentioned that greater than 270 people within the caravans have legal histories, together with gang members convicted of violent assaults and sexual abuse.
The assertion additionally pointed to public statements by Mexican and Guatemalan authorities who declare unidentified people have been paying or forcing ladies and kids to the entrance of the caravans to make use of as human shields.
On Friday, Nielsen recommended as many as 15,000 folks have been now a part of caravans shifting north towards the U.S. border with Mexico. However most estimates put the quantity at nearer to three,500 and shrinking. It would more than likely take weeks earlier than the primary of the caravans reaches the U.S. border.
Requested in regards to the potential for combating to interrupt out on the border, particularly with the addition of active-duty navy troops in a supporting function, Nielsen mentioned border guards and brokers would defend themselves.
“We’ve over 800 situations final yr the place they have been attacked by these coming throughout the border,” she mentioned. “Our guidelines of engagement are clear and clear and posted on-line.”