World / US and Canada

US unveils new initiatives to counter violent extremism

(Xinhua) Updated: 2016-01-09 07:07

WASHINGTON -- Facing increased threat of violent extremism at home, the United States on Friday unveiled new initiatives to fight homegrown violent extremists, including establishing a task force and a global engagement center.

The initiatives, announced by Ned Price, spokesperson of the White House's National Security Council, are intended "to improve our international and domestic efforts to counter violent extremism."

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice will establish the Countering Violent Extremism Task Force, a new organization that will integrate and harmonize domestic efforts on fighting violent extremism at home, Price said in a statement.

Moreover, the State Department will establish the Global Engagement Center, which "will allow us to place an intensified focus on empowering and enabling the voices of international partners, governmental and non-governmental."

The Obama Administration, particularly since the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in February 2015, has focused on strengthening its effort to prevent violent extremists from radicalizing and mobilizing recruits at home and abroad, the statement said.

"The horrific attacks in Paris and San Bernardino this winter underscored the need for the United States and our partners in the international community and the private sector to deny violent extremists like ISIL fertile recruitment ground," it added, using the acronym for the militant group Islamic State (IS).

IS is responsible for the massive terror massacre in Paris, France on Nov. 13, in which 130 people were killed and more than 350 others wounded in a series of well-coordinated shooting and bombing attacks.

On Dec. 2, an armed U.S. couple believed to be radicalized by IS launched a shooting attack in a social services center in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others.

A suspected gunman who shot and seriously wounded a police officer in the U.S. city of Philadelphia Thursday night confessed that he had pledged allegiance to IS, US police said Friday.

The U.S. government has listed attacks perpetrated by homegrown extremists, especially those who are inspired by the radical groups abroad like IS, as one of the major security threats it is facing.

Additionally, some senior officials from the White House and President Barack Obama's national security team, are meeting in Silicon Valley, California Friday with representatives from a number of leading technology companies, to follow up on Obama's call in his Dec. 6 address for the government and private sector to work together to combat terrorism and counter violent extremism online.

IS has been actively engaged in an online campaign aimed at recruiting young people overseas and inciting them to launch terror attacks against targets in the United States and other Western countries.

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