Police in New York are investigating at least three incidents targeting Palestinians and Jews in the city amid heightened tensions around the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
A series of attacks and threats were reported across the city on Wednesday night. Earlier this week mayor Eric Adams said that New York police were on “high alert” for potential violence inspired by the latest Middle Eastern conflict.
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“We cannot let our guards down,” Adams said.
In the south Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge, home to many Arab-Americans, a Palestinian man, 18, was attacked by men waving Israeli flags from cars, the New York Daily News reported.
The men shouted anti-Palestinian messages before attacking the victim with kicks and punches, according to the Daily News. The incident is being investigated as a potential hate crime.
Elsewhere in Brooklyn, local television station ABC7 reported that two men walked up to two people holding Palestinian flags, grabbed a flag and hit one person over the head.
Meanwhile, in Gravesend – also in Brooklyn – two juvenile boys pointed what turned out to be fake guns at the local B’Nai Yosef synagogue, police said. The boys were given criminal court summonses.
In a joint statement, the city council member Justin Brannan and the state senator Andrew Gounardes condemned the reported hate crimes in southern Brooklyn.
“Escalating violence in Israel and Palestine has inflamed tensions here at home. But we cannot allow these conflicts to cause violence or hateful rhetoric on the street of New York City. No one deserves to be attacked for their identity or their beliefs and we won’t stand for it in our community or anywhere,” they said.
Meanwhile “high-visibility patrols” of police near protests, mass gatherings and places of worship were set to be carried out across the city, Rebecca Weiner, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, told local TV station Fox5.
“This is really about making sure people feel safe, feel supported and can go about their daily lives,” Weiner said.