Public Safety

Houston increasing security for religious communities amidst war in Middle East

The Houston Police Department said there is currently no specific or credible threat to Houston or the surrounding area.

Troy Finner
AP Photo / Michael Wyke
Houston Police Chief Troy Finner speaks during a news conference, Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in Houston.

The Houston Police Department is monitoring the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas and raising security in religious communities.

"We are diligently monitoring the situation and its potential impact on public safety," the department said in a statement on social media. "Currently, there are no specific or credible threats to our city or the Greater Houston area."

The increase in security stems from a call for global protests to take place on Friday by a former Hamas leader.

Houston City Council member Abbie Kamin, who is part of the Jewish community, said that while the conflict is on the other side of the world, it still affects people she knows in Israel and has impacted people in Houston. Israel was attacked last weekend by Hamas, sparking a war.

"One of my friend’s cousins is missing and presumed to be taken hostage," she said.

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Kamin said Jewish institutions in Houston are taking necessary precautions, and that she has been working with the mayor and HPD to make sure that Muslim locations and schools have the same protection.

"I think the bottom line is, we will not give into fear,” Kamin said. “We will not give into hate. We're all in this together."

The FBI said in a statement that it’s working with its office in Israel to locate and identify any impacted Americans.

"While the FBI does not have a specific and credible intelligence indicating a threat to the United States stemming from the Hamas attacks in Israel, we are closely monitoring unfolding events and will share relevant information with our state, local, federal and international law enforcement, intelligence and homeland security partners to ensure they are prepared for any impacts to public safety,” the FBI said. “We will not hesitate to adjust our security posture, as appropriate, to protect the American people.

“We are closely coordinating with our counterparts in the region as well as other international partners. Through our Legal Attaché office in Israel, FBI personnel are working with our partners on the ground to locate and identify any impacted Americans. Reports of deceased, injured, or unaccounted for Americans are being treated with the utmost urgency and aggressively investigated. The FBI's Victim Services Division is coordinating with the Department of State to assist, as necessary, with family engagement."

Earlier this week, major airlines in Houston temporarily suspended flights to Israel in response to militant attacks last weekend. United Airlines, JetBlue, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines halted flights from Houston to Tel Aviv.