Israel-Hamas war sparks concerns of domestic threats and attacks, federal officials warn

ByChuck Goudie and Barb Markoff, Christine Tressel and Tom Jones WLS logo
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Israel-hamas war sparks concern for domestic threats, attacks: feds
An alert to American police and government agencies cites a recent 'increase in threats' to Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- As violent anti-war protests spread from the Middle East to Europe and Southeast Asia, demonstrators also descended on Washington D.C., Capitol Hill and downtown Chicago Wednesday, all while U.S. law enforcement officials expressed concerns of threats to the homeland in the wake of Israel's war with Hamas.

An alert to American police and government agencies cites a recent "increase in threats" to Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities.

Inside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, there were no serious clashes but police said about 300 people were arrested during the "cease-fire" protest mostly by Jewish Americans.

Capitol police said several of those protesters were charged with assaulting officers but most are charged with demonstrating inside the Capitol.

While Washington, D.C. police have given an all-clear inside the House office building that had been occupied, the protests were against a backdrop of new concerns by Homeland Security officials and the FBI.

According to the Joint Intelligence Bulletin, "tensions, coupled with the widespread sharing of graphic and disturbing content related to this conflict, increase the prospects for violence in the United States with little to no warning."

Specifically, the bulletin states, "lone offenders likely pose the greatest threat in the homeland."

"Hoax bomb threats have targeted several synagogues across the United States," the bulletin explains, "likely intended to disrupt services and intimidate congregants."

Also cited in the bulletin is the alleged hate crime that took place in Will County this past weekend, when a six-year-old Palestinian-American boy was stabbed 26 times and killed, and the boy's mother was critically wounded.

The 71-year old man charged with the stabbing now facing a federal civil rights/hate crime investigation.

Faith-based threats are of particular concern, the bulletin states.

"Since the October attacks in Israel, we have observed an increase in threats to these communities, including reports of physical assaults, bomb threats, and online calls for mass casualty attacks," it reads