Law enforcement in LA County on alert after call for Hamas ‘Day of Rage’ protests worldwide

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Law enforcement agencies in Los Angeles County and throughout the U.S. were on high alert after a former Hamas leader called on supporters to hold “Day of Rage” protests worldwide on Friday.

In L.A.’s Pico-Robertson neighborhood, which has a vibrant Jewish community, a security guard was seen posted outside a school and synagogue.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the police departments of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica also announced plans to increase their presence.

None of the agencies have publicly disclosed reports of any credible threats in Southern California.

The increased security measures are being taken out an abundance of caution after former Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal called for a day of “anger” across the Muslim world on Friday in support of the Palestinians and against the Israel strikes in Gaza. Meshaal also urged those in neighboring countries to join the fight against Israel.

“Deliver a message, through the squares and the streets, a message of anger, that we are with Palestine, that we are with Gaza,” Meshaal said, adding, “that we are a part of this battle.”

Ahead of the anticipated protests, the Israeli government has urged Israelis abroad to take extra caution amid concerns the call for action could turn violent.

“Worldwide, the Jewish community has been through a very traumatic week,” Ivan Wolkind, CEO of Magen Am, said in an interview. On its website, Magen Am is described as “the only Jewish, non-profit organization licensed to provide physical, armed security services on the West Coast of the United States.”

“I think, now more than ever, it behooves us to spend time together as a community, and come together as a community, and not to let these threats keep us from doing that,” Wolkind said.

“We are closely monitoring these events and are coordinating with Federal, State and Local partners on information sharing. We will continue to closely monitor these events,” the LAPD said in a statement posted on social media.

L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said in a statement that his department is monitoring activity throughout the county.

“We are aware of recent statements made calling for action as it relates to the conflict in the Middle East. We have no information of any specific or credible threats in our areas and are continuing to assess the situation for any local impact in Los Angeles County,” Luna said. “We urge the community who attend demonstrations to remain calm and peaceful. The safety and security of all our communities is our number one priority. We remind residents to stay vigilant and report anything suspicious to local law enforcement officials.”

The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles circulated a message to local organizations this week, again assuring that there is “no known credible threat to the Los Angeles Jewish community at this time.”

However, the organization advised local Jewish groups and residents to be aware of their surroundings, avoid protest areas, call 911 if they feel endangered and report suspicious activity to police.

There were also protests and rallies held throughout the Southland on Friday. At one event held outside Congressman Brad Sherman’s district office in Sherman Oaks, protesters were calling for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Sherman said peace is possible if Hamas is dismantled.

“The sooner Hamas is dismantled, the sooner the Palestinian people will be better off and the sooner we can move toward peace,” Sherman said.

ABC News and City News Service contributed to this report.

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