ISIS-affiliated terrorists or their supporters could be plotting an attack on a public gathering during Pride Month, and the FBI and Homeland Security have issued a public warning in order to raise awareness of the potentially heightened threat.

"Foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs) or supporters may seek to exploit increased gatherings associated with the upcoming June 2024 Pride Month," the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in the public service announcement dated May 10. The bureau adds that terrorist organizations continue to want to "inspire violence against holiday celebrations," and this threat is "compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other western countries" — which is clearly linked to the war in Gaza.

There is no specific target or potential location mentioned, and there are no current credible threats. The FBI and DHS only mention that three alleged ISIS sympathizers were arrested for attempting to launch an attack on a Pride celebration in Vienna, Austria last June, and other similar attacks could be on the horizon.

The PSA points to "English language ISIS messaging [that] featured an article focused on anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric and rallied against the growth and promotion of the LGBTQIA+ community." This was in February 2023, and the messaging apparently included encouragement for supporters to conduct attacks on soft targets associated with this community.

The FBI also mentions the upcoming eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, in which a lone gunman who expressed allegiance with ISIS killed 49 people and wounded 53 others. "After the Pulse shooting, pro-ISIS messaging praised this attack as one of the high-profile attacks in Western countries, and FTO supporters celebrated it."

The 2016 shooting appeared to inspire a Bay Area ISIS recruit who was nabbed by an undercover agent in 2017. Then 22-year-old Amer Sinan Al Haggagi of West Oakland was indicted for fomenting terrorist plots, and among his alleged plans stated to the FBI agent was planting a bomb in a gay nightclub in San Francisco, and selling poisoned cocaine in gay clubs.

Cameron Polan, who works in the FBI's field office in San Francisco, tells ABC 7, "The public service announcement is definitely something new this year."

But Suzanne Ford, the executive director of SF Pride, tells the station that threats and fears of violence are nothing new for Pride. "Our organization for many, many years has worked with state, local, federal law enforcement agencies and other appropriate agencies to make sure our community's safe," Ford says.

The PSA notes several things that event organizers should be on the lookout for, including suspicious individuals taking photos of access points or security equipment, or individuals conducting "unusual surveillance or [expressing] interest in buildings, gatherings, or events" connected to Pride.

Such individuals might also, the agencies say, try "eliciting information from facility personnel regarding the nature of upcoming events, crowd sizes, busiest times of day, etc."

The Pride parade in San Francisco, which is one of the largest annual public gatherings in the city, typically comes off without a hitch.

SF Pride director Ford confidently tells ABC 7, "We're going to come together, there's going to be one million people out on Market Street, and we're going to proclaim to the world that in San Francisco Pride is our community and that we're going to be there."

Related: Oakland ISIS Recruit Accused Of Planning Gay Nightclub Bombings In SF, And A Plot To Sell Poisoned Cocaine

Photo: Ian Taylor