US attorney-general warns of rising threat to US citizens as part of Israel-Hamas conflict

US attorney-general Merrick Garland has noted a rise in reported threats against Jewish, Muslim, and Arab communities owing to the Israel-Hamas conflict

Protesters in Washington DC hold a demonstration calling for ceasefire in the Israel–Hamas war (photo: Getty Images)
Protesters in Washington DC hold a demonstration calling for ceasefire in the Israel–Hamas war (photo: Getty Images)


US attorney-general Merrick Garland said the Justice Department is seeing an increase in reported threats against Jewish, Muslim and Arab communities and institutions across the country amid the raging Israel-Hamas conflict.

In an address, Garland said last week, he directed all 94 US 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, reports Xinhua news agency.

"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."

Protests are continuing and tensions rising across the US after a Hamas attack on Israel on 7 October, and Israel's subsequent bombing of the Hamas-controlled enclave of Gaza, prompting heightened security in American cities.

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 per cent, the group said.

On 15 October, a 71-year-old man stabbed and killed a six-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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