NEWARK, N.J. — Officials with the FBI’s field office in Newark said on Thursday that it had received “credible information” about a “broad threat” to synagogues in New Jersey.
In a tweet Thursday afternoon, the FBI asked synagogue officials to “take all security precautions” to protect their facilities and community members.
While the agency promised to provide more information, bureau spokesperson Patti Hartman told NorthJersey.com that she could not provide further details. She told the news organization that the warning was a “proactive” measure and that the matter is still under investigation.
The FBI takes all threats seriously and we are working with our law enforcement partners actively investigating this threat. We are also engaged with our faith based partners in the affected community.— FBI Newark (@FBINewark) November 3, 2022
According to The Associated Press, the alert was posted after officials discovered an online threat directed broadly at synagogues in New Jersey. The posting did not target a specific synagogue by name, according to an official who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity.
According to NorthJersey.com, Bergen County Sheriff Anthony Cureton emailed temples across the region, noting that the danger is not believed to include an explosive device.
Matthew Platkin, the state’s attorney general, has been working with the state police, and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, according to the news outlet. Platkin contacted prosecutors in all 21 of New Jersey’s counties and spoke with law enforcement officials to secure patrols in “sensitive areas,” NorthJersey.com reported.
“Some of these patrols will be in marked vehicles and others will not. But please do not be alarmed if you observe an increase in police presence, as we are taking these steps in an abundance of caution,” Platkin said in a statement.
In Jersey City, where two assailants killed three people and a police officer at a kosher market in 2019, Mayor Steven Fulop said police would be posted at all seven synagogues in the city, the AP reported.
In nearby Hoboken, police officers armed with rifles guarded a synagogue, and increased patrols were ordered in the city’s Jewish communities.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said he has been in contact with authorities and the FBI.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are working with local law enforcement to ensure that all houses of worship are protected,” Murphy tweeted.
I have been in touch with the @NewJerseyOAG, @njohsp, and @FBINewark regarding a credible threat to synagogues in NJ.— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) November 3, 2022
We are closely monitoring the situation and are working with local law enforcement to ensure that all houses of worship are protected.
Rabbi Daniel Cohen, of Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange, said his temple already employs security guards and met with law enforcement officials after receiving the warning.
Cohen said security measures had been in place before the Tree of Life shooting, when 11 worshippers were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018.
“We have been living with this, we have known this is a possibility,” Cohen told NorthJersey.com. “Sadly, I’m not surprised.”
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