Newton police on heightened alert Friday amid fears of Hamas global threat

Newton police are on alert after former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal urged supporters of Hamas worldwide to take action on Friday, Oct. 13, as fighting continues between Israel and the Hamas in Gaza.

Last weekend, Hamas fired bombs into Israel from the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,300 civilians including almost 30 Americans. Israel has responded by bombing thousands of targets in Gaza and reportedly killing about 1,500 people there. Hundreds of Israelis have been kidnapped, and Hamas on Thursday urged supporters around the world to take action on Friday.

On Thursday evening, the Newton Police Department took to Facebook to address the potential threat.

“Newton Police have been taking added precautions since Saturday morning,” the Facebook post reads. “NPD is in close touch with Jewish and Israeli affiliated institutions and the Newton Public Schools and will be providing extra security measures.”

The post then emphasizes that no threats have been made against Newton that police are aware of and asks residents to be vigilant and “if you see something, say something.”

On Friday morning, Israeli officials urged all residents to evacuate Gaza City, implying an escalation of military operations there.

Newton’s population is about 30 percent Jewish, and Newton is home to seven synagogues and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Boston.

“At the JCC we stand in solidarity with Israel and in opposition to the unspeakable violence and tragedies currently unfolding in the Jewish state,” a message reads on the Jewish Community Center’s blog. “At the JCC, we are fortunate to care for and work with many Israeli friends, family members, and colleagues who are part of the heart and soul of our exceptional community. The impact of this terrible and uncertain moment is felt by all of us as we stand united with our hearts and prayers in the east – libenu baMizrach. We are heartbroken in this moment but not defeated, Am Yisrael Chai.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was corrected from an earlier version which had incorrect use of the phrase “day of jihad” in the4 title and first paragraph.