U.S. law enforcement agencies stepped up security measures on Friday to safeguard Jewish and Muslim communities amid global protests over Israeli-Arab bloodshed in the Middle East, as thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets in New York City. Throngs of protesters assembled near Times Square in Manhattan decrying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as his government intensified its strikes on the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the wave of surprise attacks in Israel by Hamas.
The protesters, many wearing masks to conceal their identities out of what they said was concern for their own safety. The rally came as police in New York and other U.S. cities said they were escalating patrols around synagogues, mosques, and other Jewish and Muslim institutions, though authorities insisted they were unaware of any specific, or credible threats.
The Hamas rampage killed at least 1,300 Israelis, marking the deadliest Palestinian attack on the Jewish state in its history. Israel has killed at least 1,900 Palestinians in an aerial bombardment of Gaza and gave more than 1 million residents in the northern half of the enclave 24 hours to flee to the south to avoid an onslaught.