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Hochul ramps up security near synagogues

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(The Center Square) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is tightening security around synagogues and other Jewish sites following last weekend’s terror attack by Hamas in Israel that killed hundreds and injured thousands.

Hochul said she has directed state police to monitor potential targets and vulnerable locations around the state, including synagogues, yeshivas, Jewish museums and cultural centers, and other at-risk sites.

The ramped-up precautions come after state security officials gave Hochul a closed-door briefing Tuesday on potential threats to Jewish sites in New York City and across the state. She declined to discuss specific measures, how many police officers are being deployed or at what cost, citing security concerns.

“As New Yorkers grieve loved ones impacted by the abhorrent Hamas terror attacks, it’s critical we provide the security necessary for Jewish communities here in New York,” Hochul said in a statement.

Hochul also called on Facebook, X and other social media websites to “monitor the speech on your platform and crack down on incitements to violence – before it’s too late.”

“We’re watching very closely, because there has been more communication between jihadist groups and white supremacist groups and other extreme groups, neo-Nazi groups here in the United States and some in New York,” Hochul told religious leaders. “We are constantly watching, keeping an eye on that situation.”

New York State has one of the largest concentrations of Jewish people in the world, and many families have loved ones who were killed or injured in the Hamas attacks.

Many of the state’s top leaders, on both sides of the political divide, were quick in their condemnation of the terrorist attacks and to show support for the Israeli people and their right to defend their country. They also criticized an “all out for Palestine” rally promoted by the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, a Staten Island Republican, is among a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers calling on the Biden administration to direct the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defense to get commercial, charter and military planes “on the ground to get Americans home as quickly as possible.”

“We write to express our grave concerns for their well-being and safety,” the lawmakers wrote to Biden. “Given the rapidly escalating situation, as Israel launches a counter offensive, it is imperative that you use all tools at your disposal to return all U.S. nationals in Israel home wish to do so.”

Malliotakis referenced botched evacuations from Afghanistan and Ukraine and said it’s “unconscionable that the Biden Administration is not executing a plan to safely get American citizens home as soon as possible.”

“If other countries like Poland have military planes on the ground and are conducting evacuations, there’s no reason why the U.S. is not doing the same,” she said.

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