Police were increasing security and patrols around Jewish institutions in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica Saturday following the Hamas attack against Israel.
“The Los Angeles Police Department is aware of the turmoil in the Middle East and lives lost. In those areas where we serve both our Jewish and Muslim communities, we will be conducting extra patrol to ensure the safety of all,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrote on X.
“We are appalled by this act of terrorism by Hamas against the citizens and civilian communities in Israel,” Beverly Hills Mayor Julian Gold said. “We call on President Biden and Congress to act swiftly in support of Israel. Additionally, we hope all peace-loving nations of the world and the United Nations, will condemn this senseless violence. Our hearts are with the people of Israel as we stand together and support Israel defending itself and condemn this heinous act.”
Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger weighed in with a statement, saying, “Hamas’ violent and deadly attack on Israel was nothing short of barbaric,” and, “I want the Jewish community to know I stand in solidarity with them and, in no uncertain terms, condemn this assault.
“Violence abroad has a ripple effect and reaches every corner of the globe,” Barger said. “I send my prayers to those in Israel who are suffering due to this traumatic attack on their lives and all our local Jewish communities who are also feeling their pain.”
A watch commander at the Santa Monica Police Department told City News Service: “There have been periodic checks that we have directed to our extra cars. I sent one out when I saw the news.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also said it was stepping up activity.
“LASDHQ is aware of the situation in the Middle East. We would like to ensure all residents, we are monitoring, remaining vigilant, and conducting extra patrol checks in our areas. We are working closely with our federal and local law enforcement partners to monitor the situation,” the department posted on X.
Hamas — a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic fundamentalist group founded in 1987 that disputes Israel’s right to territory — launched the attack early Saturday morning, firing thousands of rockets into Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and also sending in ground forces.
Israel said at least 200 of its people were killed and hundreds wounded, and un unknown number of Israeli soldiers and civilians were captured and taken to Gaza as hostages.
More than 230 Palestinians have reportedly been killed in retaliatory fighting.
Israeli authorities said a second round of rockets were fired at the nation Saturday evening, and struck multiple locations inside Israel, including in Tel Aviv.
The attacks came on the 50th anniversary of the so-called “Yom Kippur War,” in which Israel was attacked by a coalition of Arab states.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his nation, “We are at war” in a televised address. “What happened today has never been seen in Israel. We will take mighty vengeance for this black day,” Netanyahu said.
President Joe Biden issued a statement of support for Israel, and many Southland elected leaders condemned the attack.
“Today, I spoke with @IsraeliPM about the appalling Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel. I offered our support and reiterated my unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” Biden posted on X. “@FLOTUS and I express our heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost loved ones.
“Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass said she joined “voices across the nation condemning this horrific attack on Israel. The Los Angeles region has the second largest Jewish population outside of Israel and many families are anxiously awaiting developments as they unfold. My thoughts are with those families this morning. Angelenos stand with those under siege mourning loss. May their memories be a blessing.”
Rabbi Noah Farkas, president and CEO of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, issued the following statement: “Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of innocent Israeli
lives murdered by Hamas terrorists. We also pray for the health of those Israelis who have been injured and the safe return of those who have been kidnapped.
“Once again, on a holy day of the Jewish calendar, Israelis have come under attack. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles stands in solidarity with our beloved homeland. We are working with our partners in Israel and across the globe to ensure the people of Israel have our full support and all necessary resources.
“Israel will prevail and the Jewish people will stand together – as we always do.”
The federation set up an emergency fund to support the victims.
Asked to comment on the attack, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA released the following statement to City News Service:
Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA wish to stress that it is imperative to understand that Palestinians have suffered under occupation for decades, and resistance is a response to the daily violence, dehumanization, and colonization that Palestinians face.”
The Muslim Public Affairs Council released the following statement from Washington, D.C.:
“To truly understand what is happening, we must look to the source of the problem; an ongoing occupation in violation of international human rights law that has left the Palestinian people, in particular Gazans, stripped of their basic rights and human dignity. By actively, and often violently, preventing their pursuit of a self-defined identity, national autonomy, and global recognition, Israeli occupation and the world’s continued silence has offered Hamas and other groups the political vacuum needed to propel themselves into positions of leadership and justify their violent attacks.
“In turn, Israel uses the attacks of Hamas, and other groups, to justify their disproportionate and devastating assaults on Palestinians, targeting primarily civilian areas. The resulting unyielding cycle of death and destruction reaps no benefit nor levies any consequence greater than the continued dehumanization and death of the Palestinian people.”
“ … MPAC calls on the international community to take immediate action to end the violence. We urge the United States to use its influence to end the occupation and protect the rights of the Palestinian people.”
The U.S. State Department said U.S. citizens seeking to get in touch with the U.S. Embassy in Israel should visit the State Department website or call 888-407-4747.
Source: NBC Los Angeles