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Portland Police Take "World Jihad Day" Calls Seriously

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A former leader of Hamas called for a "global jihad," and the Portland Police are taking this threat seriously.

Khaled Mashal, the former leader of Hamas, issued a call to Muslims worldwide to "take to the streets" on Friday, October 13th, for a global day of protest against Israel.

In a video message obtained by Reuters, Mashal said, "[We must] take to the squares and streets of the Arab and Islamic world on Friday."

He called on his "brothers and sisters" in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt to take action and unite on Friday in support of Palestinians.

He also made a specific appeal to Muslims living in countries bordering Israel, stating, "The tribes of Jordan, the sons of Jordan, the brothers and sisters of Jordan... This is a moment of truth, and the borders are close to you; you all know your responsibility."

Jihad is defined as "struggle or fight against enemies of Islam" and "spiritual struggle within oneself against sin."

His call came as Israel pledged to intensify its response to Hamas with a ground offensive after Israeli fighter jets struck over 200 targets in Gaza overnight.

Many media outlets and social media users interpreted this as a "Global Day of Jihad," making it a top trending topic on Twitter.

In light of this news, federal and local law enforcement agencies are warning the public to remain vigilant.

"We do not have any credible information that there are specific threats to Portland. As always, we are monitoring the situation, and if any concerns arise, we will deploy necessary resources," wrote Sergeant Kevin Allen of the Portland Police Bureau to FOX 12 News on Thursday.

"It is also reasonable to assume that in the coming days, there may be spontaneous or planned events/protests related to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza. Some of these may include marches that could affect traffic. We ask our community to be patient. Peaceful protests are protected by the Constitution. The Portland Police Bureau recognizes the importance of upholding the rights afforded by the First Amendment, as well as the tradition of free speech and assembly in the City of Portland. The Bureau is committed to respecting lawful assemblies and expressions of opinion while ensuring public safety, peace, and order."

Meanwhile, other law enforcement agencies across the country are on heightened alert. The New York Police Department posted a statement on X (formerly Twitter) announcing increased patrols throughout the city with a focus on "large gatherings and cultural institutions" to ensure public safety.

The Los Angeles Police Department also stated that they would be stepping up patrols on Friday, especially around Jewish and Muslim neighborhoods and institutions.

When asked about "Jihad Day" during a White House press briefing on Thursday, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby acknowledged that the White House was aware of the threat.

This week, the FBI also drew attention to the potential for violence in the United States "in connection with Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel." In their warning, the FBI did not cite specific threats "indicating plans for additional attacks against the United States," but they added that "foreign terrorist organizations and their supporters remain intent on conducting attacks on U.S. soil and abroad."

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