FBI notes increased threats against both Jewish and Muslim communities since Hamas assault

Demonstrators ride a vehicle during a pro-Palestinian protest Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Demonstrators ride a vehicle during a pro-Palestinian protest Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

FBI officials say they’ve noticed an increase in threatening rhetoric targeting both the Jewish and Muslim communities in the week since the brutal Hamas attacks in Israel.

Director Chris Wray says on a call with reporters that the FBI is moving quickly to mitigate the threats and that the FBI does not discount the possibility that Hamas and other groups could exploit the conflict in the Middle East to call for or plot attacks in the United States.

A senior FBI official who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules set by the bureau says the majority of the threats that the FBI has responded to were not judged to be credible. But the official said the FBI takes them all seriously nonetheless.

The official also said that agents have been encouraged to be “aggressive” and proactive in communicating over the last week with faith-based leaders. The official said the purpose of that outreach is not to make anyone feel targeted but rather to ask clerics and others to report to law enforcement anything that seems suspicious.

Besides responding to an escalating number of threats, Wray said the FBI was also working through its legal attache office in Tel Aviv to do what it can to locate and identify Americans who remain unaccounted for after last weekend’s attacks.

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