NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — The war between Israel and Hamas entered its sixth day on Thursday and the loss of life-and the scale of human suffering-is raising tensions around the world, and here in New York.
The NYPD is planning a show of force around the city on Friday, which is a posture similar to other occasions when there is the possibility of civil unrest.
The department has cancelled vacations and instructed all members to show up in uniform, according to a message sent to the rank and file obtained by ABC News.
“All uniformed members of the service are to perform duty in the uniform of the day – effective immediately and until further notice, all uniformed members of the service, in every rank, will perform duty in the uniform of the day and be prepared for deployment,” the message said.
Demonstrations have been loud-at times, angry-but with no overt acts of violence. But the potential for an attack by local Hamas sympathizers is something NYPD commanders cannot afford to ignore.
“We’re trying to make sure that violence doesn’t manifest on the streets of New York City,” said Dep. Cmsr. Rebecca Weiner with the NYPD Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division.
Weiner says officers are monitoring online postings by radical groups-some of whom are calling for a “global day of rage” Friday in support of the Palestinians in Gaza.
Large deployments of uniformed officers are already hitting the streets-with more to take up positions Friday.
“There’s the part that you see, which involves a lot of officers, some of our counterterrorism officers, our Critical Response Command folks who are high visibility patrols, heavy weapons armed and trained responding to locations throughout the city, schools, houses of worship, sensitive locations,” Weiner said. “And then there’s the intelligence side, which is the part that you don’t see-the online monitoring for threats and making sure that we can anticipate whether there’s any reflection back to the city based on the overseas events.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul called it a “personal choice” to pull children from religious schools or to skip synagogue Friday night in response to the call of pro-Palestinian protests.
“I understand the very human desire to protect your family and your kids,” Hochul said. “With that information going on, it’s something everybody will individually have to decide.”
Meantime, there were three incidents in Brooklyn Wednesday night police are investigating as being possibly motivated by the war.
ABC News has confirmed that every major city police department in the U.S. is currently on a heightened state of alert monitoring the situation heading into Friday. Each department is working on its own plans on a case by case basis.
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