8 suspected terrorists with ties to ISIS arrested in Philly, NYC and LA in FBI sting operation

Eight Tajikistan nationals with ties to ISIS were arrested in three major cities by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Joint Terrorism Task Force according to federal sources.

The arrests recently occurred over the last few days in Philadelphia, New York City and Los Angeles. 

All eight suspects crossed the US southern border illegally and according to a federal source, no derogatory information was initially flagged with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) during processing.

The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed the arrests in a joint statement.

"ICE agents arrested several non-citizens pursuant to immigration authorities. The actions were carried out in close coordination with the FBI's joint terrorism task forces."   

Just last week, the head of the FBI warned about a type of threat on US soil.

"Our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home," said FBI Director Christopher Wray during a Congressional Appropriations hearing.

Fox News says the suspects were allowed into the US pending asylum after being "fully vetted". It wasn’t until they were released that authorities flagged them for having ties to the terror group ISIS.

"It’s always troublesome when any of these individuals, whether they come in through the southern border or they come through Philadelphia," said National Security expert Jack Tomarchio. 

Tomarchio, the former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, says right now federal investigators are most likely trying to learn everything they can about the suspects.

"Are they ethnic Russians who were living in Tajikistan? Are they fundamentalist with a religious issue?" He questioned. 

Federal authorities have not said if the suspects were in the process of planning an active attack or if Philadelphia was a target.  

"I don’t know what he was doing here I suspect he was not here to see the Liberty Bell as a tourist either he was in transit or there was something being planned for this area we just don’t know" Tomarchio added.

The suspects still remain in ICE custody.