United States: The attack on power transformers renews fears of a targeted campaign against the far-right

Sunday’s attack on four electrical transformers in the northwestern US state of Washington raised fears of a possible targeted campaign by far-right groups, after authorities issued earlier federal warnings.

Damage to infrastructure in Pierce County, a southern suburb of Seattle, caused more than 14,000 homes to lose power on Christmas Day, local police said.

An investigation has been opened, but no suspects have been arrested on Sunday. Police detailed in a press release, stressing that they were unable to know whether the attack was coordinated.

Police confirmed, however, that they were aware of similar events elsewhere in Washington state, in Oregon (northwest) as well as in North Carolina (southeast).

Federal police were also warned, in early December, of threats against the electrical grid of Tacoma Public Utilities, owner of two of the disruptive infrastructures, according to a news release.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a report last January, citing US media, that militants from violent extremist groups have “developed credible and targeted plans to attack electrical infrastructure since at least 2020.”

In early December, about 45,000 homes and businesses were plunged into darkness in Moore County, North Carolina, after an armed attack on two electrical transformers.

The attack came a year after five men in the same state, allegedly members of neo-Nazi and white supremacist chat groups, were indicted for plotting attacks on electrical infrastructure.

According to the indictment, they sought to cause “general chaos,” “for the purpose of establishing a state centered on the white race.”

While in the (northern) state of Ohio, three men associated with the neo-Nazi movement pleaded guilty in February to using weapons and explosives to destroy several power plants in various locations.

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