A number of police vehicles were seen outside the Congregation Beth Israel Vancouver synagogue Saturday afternoon.
Vancouver police said it is increasing its presence at places of worship and community centres as a result of attacks in Israel.
“The attacks against Israel and the escalation of violence in the Middle East are a great concern to many people in our community,” Vancouver police said in a social media post.
“As we work with law enforcement partners and community leaders to ensure everyone’s safety, you may see additional (Vancouver police) officers patrolling near some places of worship and community centres.”
The detachment said there is no specific threat to public safety in Vancouver.
B.C.’s Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said the province and law enforcement agencies are keeping a close eye on what is happening, in both Israel and in B.C.
“Both RCMP and municipal police are monitoring the situation in Israel, and are working closely to ensure there are no threats to the Jewish communities in our province and country,” he said in a social media post.
Israel ‘at war’ with Hamas after surprise cross-border assault kills at least 22, injures hundreds
The Jewish Federation Greater Vancouver issued a statement regarding the unfolding situation in Israel.
“We have made the rare decision to break Shabbat in light of the horrifying situation in Israel,” staff wrote in a release.
“Our director of security has been in touch with local law enforcement, and they have advised us that there is no specific local threat. Out of an abundance of caution, Vancouver Police Department and RCMP will increase patrols around synagogues and other Jewish community institutions. They are both tracking real-time intelligence and will update us if the situation changes.”
Security guards at Shabbat services have been briefed on the situation and have been advised to be vigilant and to follow all security protocols, staff also said.
The group said it is planning a community solidarity gathering in the days ahead.
“We want to say that our hearts are truly breaking as we watch these events unfold. We are appalled, we are concerned, and we are also resolved to stand strong with Israel and Israelis, now and in the future,” staff said.
Biden promises Israel ‘rock-solid support’ after Hamas terrorist attack leaves hundreds dead
Also in Vancouver, a pro-Palestinian rally is planned for Sunday. In a social media post, the BDS Vancouver/Canada Palestine Association said supporters will be gathering at Main and Prior streets for a “banner drop” at 1 p.m.
The militant Hamas rulers of the Gaza Strip have carried out an unprecedented, multifront attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets as dozens of Hamas fighters infiltrated the heavily fortified border in several locations, catching the country off-guard on a major holiday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Israel was “at war” and called for a mass mobilization of army reserves.
The Israeli military has also confirmed that Hamas militants are holding Israeli civilians and soldiers hostage in Gaza. The military did not say how many hostages were seized, but their capture marks a major escalation in the fighting.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada strongly condemns the attacks and called for civilian life to be protected.
“These acts of violence are completely unacceptable. We stand with Israel and fully support its right to defend itself,” Trudeau wrote in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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