NewsLocal NewsSouth Bay News


San Diego border officials warn of possible Hezbollah and Hamas crossings at southern border

u.s.-mexico border fence in San Diego
Posted at 5:39 PM, Oct 23, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-24 19:14:43-04

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. (KGTV) - Although Monday marked a typical day at the U.S.-Mexico border fence in San Ysidro, there are new concerns about who is coming across the border.

ABC News confirmed U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in San Diego sent an intelligence notice alerting that "Hamas and Hezbollah militants may potentially be encountered at the Southwest border."

"Individuals inspired by, or reacting to, the current Israel-Hamas conflict may attempt travel to or from the area of hostilities in the Middle East via circuitous transit across the Southwest border," part of the notice stated.

ABC News also reported the intel document it obtained showed various insignias associated with Hamas, Hezbollah and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad groups. The document also informed CBP personnel to be vigilant of young men wearing military gear and traveling alone.

Immigration advocate Pedro Rios calls the concerns political.

"I heard some politicians make statements, and I think it's they don't have any foundation," Rios says. "They're baseless, and they're just saying that to drum up anti-migrant support and anti-Arab sentiment."

Sunday, San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond tweeted about the Border Patrol alert and called it an "issue of national security."

On Monday, volunteers provided water, food and medical supplies for migrants at solidarity stations.

A group of men, women and children waited between the fences for the Border Patrol to process them.

Howie Rosen is a new volunteer ABC 10News spoke with.

"I wanted to get a close look at what was going on," said Rosen.

Rosen started helping out after he retired.

"Oftentimes when you're hearing their stories, which are hard to hear, you realize this could be me or my friends," said Rosen.

New numbers from CBP showed a dramatic increase in encounters at San Diego's border.

There were more than 26,000 encounters during September of this year—an increase of more than 67% from the 15,000 encounters in September 2022.

Rios says right now, the numbers are not as high as they were when Title 42 ended.

"Not as large as the numbers we saw in May, but certainly last night there were mostly all of yesterday roughly 100 here, in addition to other locations where migrants will gather," said Rios, the director of the American Friends Service Committee.

On Tuesday, a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson issued this statement to ABC 10News:

"It is the policy of CBP to neither confirm nor speak to potentially improperly disclosed information or internal documents marked as law enforcement sensitive or for official use only. In general, CBP provides frontline personnel a wide range of context for situational awareness in order to ensure they remain vigilant in fulfillment of our homeland and border security missions. Situational awareness briefs are not threat assessments."

The same spokesperson told 10News on Tuesday CBP has not seen any indication of Hamas-directed foreign fighters seeking to make entry into the U.S.