NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN/CNN) — In response to a call by Hamas leaders for a global “Day of Rage” on a holy day for Muslims, South Florida is stepping up security measures despite no specific credible threats. The call for worldwide protests has raised concerns and prompted heightened vigilance across the region.
Rallies are expected across the country, some in support of Israel and some in support of Palestinians, following last weekend’s unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas and Israel’s declaration of war.
The security concerns come as former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal released a video message encouraging the Muslim world to “show anger” on Friday, though there was no specific call for violence.
The messaging in the video is consistent with former Hamas messages calling for demonstrations and the mobilization of the Arab and Islamic world in solidarity.
The concern extends nationally, with leaders across the country emphasizing unity and safety. New York City has ordered all police officers to patrol the streets and high-profile areas in uniform.
“There is currently no intelligence showing any active threats in New York – that is, the entire state of New York,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at a Thursday night news conference.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams echoed her comments.
“I want every New Yorker, especially Jewish New Yorkers and other groups, to know there are currently no credible or specific threats against our city. But with large scale protests scheduled … we must remain vigilant,” Adams said.
Still, the NYPD said it is taking steps to increase its presence in some areas.
“We are aware of the concern that postings circulating online have caused, and we have increased our uniform deployments at large gathering and cultural sites to ensure public safety out of an abundance of caution,” the department said in a post on X Thursday night.
NYPD ordered all forces to show up in uniform regardless of rank and assignment as a precaution, according to an internal department memo obtained by CNN. The order was issued in case there’s a need to draw from units including the detective, narcotics, and intelligence bureaus for support for spontaneous events or demonstrations and marches.
Meanwhile, additional security measures have been taken in Washington, D.C., including fencing around the Capitol Building. Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Press Secretary, emphasized the importance of people feeling protected and safe.
“Certainly, it is also important for the president for people to feel protected and to feel safe,” she stated.
Elevated vigilance to deter violence
In Florida, Miami-Dade County partially activated its emergency operations center “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a statement from Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The Miami-Dade mayor confirmed that the Miami-Dade Police Department has heightened security levels throughout the community. The Emergency Operations Center has been partially activated to ensure efficient coordination of resources and communication.
“We’re going to have a police presence throughout October 13th because of the threat,” said Rabbi Ariel Yeshurun of Skylake Synagogue. “We are asking everyone to be extra vigilant, cautious, and open up your eyes and ears.”
Sky Lake Synagogue Hebrew School in North Miami Beach is among the institutions taking precautionary steps in response to the call for protests on a significant religious day.
“To call on his believers — his followers — to sacrifice blood and soul to kill innocent people, on a day that is designated in the Muslim faith to prayer. It’s uh, I mean I think, it’s overwhelming,” expressed Rabbi Yeshurun.
Rabbi Yoni Fein of Brauser Maimonides Academy in Dania Beach echoes these concerns.
“We are taking a lot more security measures in place and are certainly on high alert,” he stated.
“Can’t give in and I can’t show my kids that it’s OK to give in to fear,” a parent said. “We have to OK to be Jewish and proud Jews. I’m a granddaughter of two Holocaust survivors and we know that they wouldn’t want us to stay home being scared.”
Despite the absence of specific threats, Broward County Schools have reassured parents of students that all security personnel are on high alert.
Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Peter Licata also put out a statement.
“Some days are a little more important then others and today, with what’s going on, we decided we were going to be extra extra safe today and monitor the situation,” he said.
In a message from St. Brendan High School, the Office of Catholic Schools reassured the community, stating that “threats are of dubious credibility and not specific to South Florida, advising against school cancellations.”
“At St. Brendan High School, we will be extra vigilant in monitoring the safety and security of our campus,” reads the statement in part. “We have been advised not to make alterations in our schedule or operations at this time. We will remain in contact with the Office of Catholic Schools as well as law enforcement and will alert you if necessary.”
The Miami Beach Police Department also increased uniformed presence throughout the city and schools to ensure public safety, collaborating with community faith leaders and law enforcement partners.
“We recognize that we need to be vigilant and prepared, not just acting like it’s business as usual,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.
Doral Police Department officials emphasized the importance of vigilance, encouraging residents to report any suspicious activity.
Miami-Dade County Public Schools announced Thursday it will work with local, state and federal agencies in response to the events in the Middle East and said mental health professionals were available to support students and families.
On the West Coast, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a post on X it has “no information of any specific or credible threats,” but is “continuing to assess the situation for any local impact.”
“We are conducting extra patrol checks and reaching out to our local religious communities to reassure them during this tumultuous time,” the department said.
While there is no specific credible threat, a former Hamas leader’s call for a “Day of Jihad” has prompted statements from various agencies to remain vigilant. The message is clear: see something, say something.
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