At Passover security briefing, officials say al Qaeda recruits are sent to attack ‘symbols of capitalism,’
and they often act fast; Iran threat also on radar. Officials "tracking this threat very closely."
Assistant Managing Editor
The Jewish community faces no specific threat as Passover approaches, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told local Jewish leaders on Tuesday.
But New York City faces the continued threat of an al Qaeda-linked terror attack, likely aimed at mass transit, he said at the police department’s annual pre-Passover security briefing.
“We’re tracking this threat very closely,” said the commissioner. “We rely on an alert public to be our eyes and ears.”
For years, the New York Police Department's annual pre-High Holy Days security meeting had become little more than a big coffee klatch.
With crime down and bias crimes reduced, the gathering became better known as a chance for Jewish leaders from all walks of life and all parts of the city to renew acquaintances and trade stories with each other and police brass.
Since the drill was the same every year, discussion about security became routine.
Then came Sept. 11, 2001.
Which made this year's meeting more serious than it has been for a long time.
With the New York Police Department facing mounting criticism following the brutal attack on Abner Louima and the fatal shooting of Amadou Diallo, a diverse group of city religious leaders came together last year to express their concern to city government officials.
The New York Police Department is planning to put its officers through a new police tolerance training center being launched in Manhattan next year by the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, The Jewish Week has learned.
Police Commissioner Howard Safir has held several discussions with Wiesenthal Center founder Rabbi Marvin Hier about using its Tools for Tolerance program to sensitize the nation's largest police force, which has been rocked by a series of tragic incidents involving ethnic minorities.
Hate crimes against Jews continued across the nation this week even as political leaders from New York’s City Hall to the White House were promising stepped-up protection and renewed attempts to push tougher anti-hate and gun control laws.
The moves come in response to the shootings at a Los Angeles-area Jewish community center in which five people were wounded, including a 5-year-old boy and two 6-year-olds.
Violence against Christians in Jerusalem appears to be rising as concerns increase over the millennium and its affect on fervent cult groups making pilgrimages to the Holy Land, Israeli officials said this week. Jerusalem police said they are investigating a recent wave of threats and assaults against Christian organizations in Jerusalem.
In one incident, vandals hurled stones at Jerusalem’s St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland two weeks ago, breaking several of its stained-glass windows.
Police officials are assessing whether pro-Iran groups might retaliate against Jewish targets here in the event of a U.S. or Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear sites, the NYPD’s top intelligence analyst announced on Tuesday.
Mitchell Silber told Jewish leaders at a pre-High Holy Days security briefing at police headquarters that a team of NYPD detectives and analysts has been sent to Argentina as part of that assessment.