(CBS4) –The Department of Homeland security is warning that terrorist groups may try to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to attack already strained health care systems.
In a bulletin issued Mar. 23, and labeled unclassified, the agency warned, âViolent extremists are seeking to exploit public fears associated with the spread of COVID-19 to incite violence, intimidate targets, and promote their ideologies and we assess these efforts will intensify in the coming months.âREAD MORE: 'Girls Can Do Anything': Colorado Girls Introduced To Possibilities Of Careers In Construction
According to the bulletin, on Mar. 19, ISIS issued a newsletter âwhich contained calls for attacks in Western countries against healthcare systems that are strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.â The newsletter also included âdirections for ISIS supporters to kill (non-Muslims) wherever you find them.â
The memo also says white supremacist extremists have advocated for violence against a range of targets, including critical infrastructure and faith-based and minority communities — including Asian-Americans — in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.READ MORE: Ptarmigan Fire: Hundreds Remain Evacuated, New Evacuations Ordered After Wildfire Started Near Homes In Summit County
White supremacist groups âalso have called for infected individuals to intentionally spread COVID-19 in diverse neighborhoods and in religious institutions such as mosques and synagogues,â according to the bulletin.
DHS said it has âmedium confidenceâ in its assessment. The agency said it did not have information about “active plotting.”MORE NEWS: Former Idaho Springs Police Officer, Nicholas Hanning, Faces Civil Lawsuit For Separate Controversial Arrest