NEW YORK CITY, NY – A global ripple effect of tensions from the Israel-Hamas conflict has ignited concerns about potential unrest in cities worldwide. Khaled Meshaal, a former Hamas leader, has declared a “Day of Jihad” for Friday, October 13, urging Muslim communities to take to the streets in a collective expression of anger in solidarity with Palestinians.
In response to this call, some Americans, including Congressman Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., have staunchly asserted their readiness to stand firm and resist intimidation. In a proactive move, New York City police officers scheduled for duty have been instructed to appear in uniform and remain prepared for potential deployment.
In anticipation of possible protests, Columbia University has opted to close its campus to the public. Michael Balboni, a former New York state homeland security adviser, underscored the gravity of the situation, emphasizing that the call for a “Day of Jihad” does not advocate peaceful demonstrations.
Balboni acknowledged the heightened emotional intensity of the current circumstances, contributing to heightened nervousness. He stressed the importance of preserving a sense of calm, particularly in New York City, a city with a storied history of protests and a seasoned police force.
While past calls for violence have been made, Balboni outlined that orchestrating a coordinated attack requires careful planning and preparation, typically not achievable overnight. Nevertheless, he underscored that law enforcement agencies worldwide remain vigilant and attentive to potential threats.
Balboni elucidated that these agencies have well-established infrastructure protection strategies in place, along with a wide range of assets at their disposal, including undercover officers, informants, and an extensive surveillance network.
He concluded by urging individuals to maintain vigilance and take proactive measures to bolster security, such as monitoring access to buildings and minimizing opportunities for potential attacks.