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US to fight homegrown extremists

Washington - The United States is re-establishing a law enforcement group to fight those it designates as domestic terrorists, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Following hate-motivated shootings such as the one at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri in April, federal prosecutors have pressed the need to coordinate intelligence about such criminals on a national level, Justice Department officials told Reuters.

Members of the Aryan Nations march and rally near the grounds of the US Capitol in Washington. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst. Credit: REUTERS

In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said the United States remains concerned about threats from Islamic extremist groups, but other motives for attacks within US borders must also be watched.

“We must also concern ourselves with the continued danger we face from individuals within our own borders who may be motivated by a variety of other causes from anti-government animus to racial prejudice,” Holder said in announcing the group, named the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee.

The committee's members will come from the FBI, the National Security Division of the Justice Department and the Attorney General's Advisory Committee, which includes representatives of federal prosecutors.

Former Attorney General Janet Reno first established such a task force following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, but it was dismantled after the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked-plane attacks as the agencies turned their attention toward threats from abroad.

Events like the April 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, in which the attackers appeared to be influenced by extremist groups abroad, would not fall under the committee's jurisdiction, the officials said.

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