Obama warns of lone wolf terror attacks

President Barack Obama recently said that a terrorist attack by an individual acting alone was more likely to occur in the near term than a significant coordinated by a terrorist group using nuclear or radiological weapons.

Obama said that the United States government was operating at a level of “heightened awareness” as the 10th anniversary of the attacks on New York and Washington nears, according to the Associated Press.

"The biggest concern we have right now is not the launching of a major terrorist operation, although that risk is always there," the president said, Yahoo.com reports. "The risk that we're especially concerned over right now is the lone wolf terrorist, somebody with a single weapon being able to carry out wide-scale massacres of the sort that we saw in Norway recently. You know, when you've got one person who is deranged or driven by a hateful ideology, they can do a lot of damage, and it's a lot harder to trace those lone wolf operators."

In the last few years, the U.S. has faced a series of terrorist-related attacks carried out by individuals. In November 2009, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, who authorities say had become an Islamic extremist, was charged with killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas.

In separate incidents, individuals were charged with a botched car bomb attack in New York’s Times Square in 2010 and a Christmas Day 2009 attempt to bring down an airplane bound for Detroit.

Obama said that the government is continually monitoring and gathering information about terrorist plots, even though it is thought that Al-Qaeda’s capabilities have been seriously weakened and its leader, Osama bin Laden, killed in a raid in Pakistan in early May.

“Look, as president of the United States, I worry about all of it,"  Obama said, Yahoo.com reports. "But I think the most likely scenario that we have to guard against right now ends up being more of a lone wolf operation than a large, well-coordinated terrorist attack. We still have to stay on top of it, though, and we're never letting our guard down. That's part of our job."