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European, U.S. cities boost security after celebrations of attack on Israel

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 8: Ambassador Robert Wood, who was appointed by U.S. President Joe Biden as Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations exits the room after taking part in the United Nations Security Council on October 8, 2023 at U.N. Headquarters in New York City. According to reports, over the last two days in Israel at least 600 people have been killed and 1,900 injured in the deadliest attack in at least 50 years.(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)  (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)
By Jennifer Hassan Washington Post

LONDON – Authorities in cities across Europe and the United States are implementing tighter security at Jewish holy sites and for local communities in the wake of Hamas’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

The moves come after videos appeared to show people in several cities celebrating the surprise assault on Saturday, which sparked retaliation from Israel. Hundreds of people have been killed on both sides of the conflict, and scores were missing Sunday.

London’s Metropolitan Police said it was increasing its presence across parts of the British capital to provide “reassurance.” It cited “a number of incidents, including those that have been shared on social media, in relation to the ongoing conflict in Israel and the border with Gaza.”

Video footage tweeted by British television host Rachel Riley appeared to show people celebrating, clapping and waving the Palestinian flag in western London on Saturday night.

The Met Police also said it was aware that protests relating to the conflict may take place on British soil in the coming days.

In the United States, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) said security was increased within Jewish communities and at houses of worship.

She also condemned an “abhorrent and morally repugnant” rally planned in Times Square on Sunday in support of the perpetrators of the attack on Israel.

A rally, titled “All Out for Palestine,” is due to be held in Times Square on Sunday afternoon, according to organizers who are using social media to promote the event.

“New York City has the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel, and we stand side by side with Israel every day – but we do so with extra resolve today,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement Saturday.

Adams assured Americans that there was “no credible threat to New York City” but that the police had been directed to deploy “additional resources to Jewish communities and houses of worship.”

In Los Angeles, Police Chief Michel Moore, said the city would also be stepping up patrols near synagogues and in surrounding neighborhoods.

In Florida, Miami Beach Police said they were increasing police visibility around synagogues and other locations.

Across Europe, similar measures were being implemented, with officials in Germany citing celebratory images of the assaults circulating online.

Berlin police said Saturday that they were aware of posts circulating online that showed “people celebrating the attacks on Israel by distributing sweet baked goods” in the German capital, adding that they had increased police presence over the weekend to prevent “anti-Israel crimes.”

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin urged regional officials to ramp up protective measures, especially at Jewish sites.

“At a time when terrorist attacks from Gaza are hitting Israel, I ask you to immediately step up vigilance, security and protection of Jewish community sites in France,” he said in a message reported by Agence France-Presse.

Pro-Palestinian rallies were held in several other nations Saturday, including Iran, Lebanon and Turkey. Large groups chanted anti-Israel slogans and waved the Palestinian flag.