Scene of hostage taking in Texas
Scene of hostage taking in TexasREUTERS/Shelby Tauber

The United States faces heightened threats from extremist groups domestic and foreign, underscored by last month's hostage crisis in a Texas synagogue, the Homeland Security Department said on Monday, according to Reuters.

"Threats directed at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other colleges and universities, Jewish facilities, and churches cause concern and may inspire extremist threat actors to mobilize to violence," the Homeland Security Department said in a bulletin.

"Supporters of foreign terrorist organizations have encouraged copycat attacks following the January 15, 2022 attack on a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas," the federal agency added.

The US intelligence community warned months ago of a threat that racially motivated violent extremists, such as white supremacists, would seek to carry out mass-casualty attacks on civilians.

The United States remains in a heightened threat environment, the department said, according to Reuters.

"Foreign terrorists remain intent on targeting the United States and US persons, and may seek to capitalize on the evolving security environment overseas to plot attacks," it added.

British-born gunman Malik Faisal Akram last month took four people hostage at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas. The standoff ended when the hostages escaped and the gunman was shot dead by security forces.

The FBI initially said that Akram was not driven by antisemitism, but FBI Director Christopher Wray later declared that the hostage incident was “an act of terrorism targeting the Jewish community.”