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NYPD on high alert ahead of Israel Day Parade Sunday

The New York City Police Department is on high alert ahead of the annual Israel Day Parade on Sunday, happening nearly eight months after Hamas’ attacks on southern Israel prompted the ongoing war in Gaza. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYPD officials hosted a press conference on Friday to discuss security preparations for the parade, which has a theme this year of “Bring the Hostages Home,” a reminder of the more than 120 hostages still held captive following the Oct. 7 attacks. 

 “This is the first major large Jewish event since October 7th, and we are extremely conscious of the over 3,000 protests that took place in our city since that day,” Adams said Friday. 

An NYPD threat assessment warned that “extremists across the ideological spectrum and other grievance-driven malicious actors” could look to strike Sunday’s event, the New York Daily News reported.

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Participants dance as they take part in the Celebrate Israel Parade Sunday, June 2, 2019, in New York. A New York City parade for Israel that annually draws masses of people will step off Sunday with tight security.  (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle, file)

Since Oct. 7, New York City has seen almost 2,800 protests across our city, almost 1,300 of which were related to the war in the Middle East, according to the mayor’s office.

Police Commissioner Edward Caban said there will be an increased police presence in the surrounding area of the parade route, “including our screening checkpoints at points of entry, as well as bike teams, aviation, K-9, transit, and our other specialized units.” 

The NYPD’s Counterterrorism and Intelligence Bureau personnel will also be deployed, Caban said, adding that “there is no specific or credible threats to the parade or to New York City in general.”

“For 60 years, people from around the world have come to New York to celebrate our city’s proud Jewish heritage. Sunday’s parade is the largest celebration of its kind outside of Israel, and the NYPD will be there to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Caban said. “The eyes and ears of New York play a vital role in protecting our city, so if something that doesn’t feel right, please let a cop know.”

The increased security will include more police personnel, including more special operations and counterterrorism assets on the day of the Israel Day Parade on Fifth Avenue, NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey said. The NYPD aviation unit will have drones out and the K-9 unit and mounted unit will be working in and around Central Park on Sunday, he said. 

NYPD officers at anti-Israel protest

NYPD officers intervene and arrest several anti-Israel demonstrators in Brooklyn on May 31, 2024. Hundreds of protesters occupied parts of the Brooklyn Museum and hung a massive banner on the gate of the museum.  (Fatih Aktas /Anadolu via Getty Images)

“The parade route has been fortified. The parade route runs from 56th Street up to 74th Street, 18 blocks, and the route has been fortified. There’s additional fencing up there for increased security,” he said.

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The parade, currently known as the “Israel Day on Fifth” parade, has been held for nearly six decades, in previous years known as the “Salute to Israel Parade” and the “Celebrate Israel Parade.” This year’s event kicks off at about 11:30 a.m. and is expected to draw more than 40,000 participants, including Israeli dignitaries, celebrities and some of the hostages’ families.

Spectators can enter the parade route through Madison Avenue at five access points, 61st Street, 63rd Street, 66th Street, 70th Street, and 73rd Street. 

Maddrey said all spectators who enter will be wanded by school safety division or school safety agents with magnetometers, along with NYPD counterterrorism units, and participants will have to have proper credentials provided by the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) before they’re allowed to step onto the parade route and walk.

“These security measures are a little bit more increased from last year, but these measures aren’t new, a scaled down version of what we do,” Maddrey said. “New Year’s Eve, 4th of July, J’ouvert celebrations, these are security measures that we have implemented in the past. It’s all about the safety of the communities, the participants, and the spectators.” 

eric adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams held a press conference ahead of the Israel Day parade in Manhattan to discuss security preparations. (AP Photo/Peter K. Afriyie, File)

The parade in New York City is happening at the same time cricket matches on Long Island will begin. Last week, ISIS-related terror threats circulated online about the cricket matches, sparking security concerns.

Citing the anti-Israel protests that unfolded at Columbia, NYU and City College in New York City, Adams noted how often times, “there are outside agitators that are playing a major role in many of these events” who “embed themselves into these large gatherings” and “see it as an opportunity to be disruptive.” 

“We’re going to immediately respond to any inappropriate action that goes outside the boundaries of peacefully protesting or adding your voice to whatever concern,” Adams said. 

NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry said several ARGUS cameras are located on the parade route and drones will be deployed strategically along the parade route and the outer perimeter. 

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“The drones will be looking for potential groups that may come to disrupt the parade,” he said. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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