The greatest terrorism threat facing New Jersey is likely already there, says an annual counter-terrorism report that found domestic attacks across the U.S. were on the rise. The 2017 “threat assessment” from the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness ranks homegrown violent extremists as the single-highest threat to the New Jersey, months after the state saw its first major terror attack since 9/11 with bombings allegedly carried out by an Elizabeth, N.J., resident, reports NJ Advance Media.
Chris Rodriguez, the office’s director, said that incident shows “the public is really on the front lines” in an era of lone wolf assaults. The report found homegrown violent extremists — defined as those inspired by foreign extremist groups but radicalized in the countries where they live — were the only category presenting a “high” threat level to the state. Data show the number of attacks nationally is on the rise. There were 22 domestic terror attacks and 17 plots, threats of violence, and instances of weapons stockpiling in 2016. The previous year, the office counted just 16 instances in each category.