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U.S. Attorney General Warns of Rising Threats Related to Israel-Hamas Conflict

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said on Thursday that the Justice Department is seeing an increase in reported threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities and institutions in the United States amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

During a speech in Jacksonville, the U.S. state of Florida, Garland said that last week he directed all 94 of U.S. attorneys’ offices and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to be in close touch with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners in their districts.

“The entire Justice Department remains vigilant in our efforts to identify and respond to hate crimes, threats of violence, or related incidents, with particular attention to threats to faith communities,” Garland said.

“As always, the Justice Department remains focused on doing everything we can to keep Americans safe from the threat of terrorism,” he added.

Protests are continuing and tensions are rising across the United States after the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and Israel’s subsequent bombing of the Hamas-controlled enclave of Gaza, prompting heightened security in U.S. cities.

Reports of domestic threats have spiked since the Hamas-Israel conflict, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Saturday.

According to the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, at least 140 protests across the country have been tracked within a week after the current conflict started, in which some protesters glorified violence and attacks on civilians. Online threats against Jewish people have increased 400 percent, the group said.

On Sunday, a 71-year-old man allegedly stabbed and killed a 6-year-old Muslim boy and seriously wounded his mother in Illinois.

The suspect has already been charged with state crimes, and authorities said the boy and his mother were targeted because they were Palestinian Americans. 

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