O The Department of Homeland Security designated the march as a “Level 1” security event, the highest classification in its system and typically used for large events such as the American Football League championship game (Super Bowl). ), two police officers told the Associated Press (AP).
The designation means the event required substantial assistance from federal law enforcement agencies, officials said.
A succession of speakers took to the stage, in front of a sea of Israeli and American flags, to denounce the bloody Hamas incursion on October 7, which they classified as the spread of anti-Semitism internationally and “a shame for all people and civilized nations”, in the words of Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who addressed the crowd by video.
After the “greatest massacre since the Holocaust”, Herzog said, “let us shout together: ‘never again'”.
“No one will break us,” he promised. “Let’s rise again. There is no greater and just cause than this”, she defended.
The FBI and Homeland Security sent a joint bulletin to law enforcement officials in Washington warning of the potential for violence or an attack inspired by the Israel-Hamas war, the agents said.
But the bulletin clearly said that federal authorities had not identified any “specific threat” to the march, they said.
The agents were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the police report and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Many of the protesters at the “March for Israel” wore Israeli flags on their backs or held miniatures of them in their hands.
Police security was reinforced and trucks blocked access to the National Mall – an area that houses iconic North American monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
“I hope this shows solidarity” with Israel, said Jackie Seley, who traveled from Maryland along with friends who traveled from New York.
“And I hope this raises awareness about the hostages who are currently in danger,” he added.
Melanie Lubin, also from the state of Maryland, used a flag that was half the flag of the United States and half the flag of Israel. Asked about the death toll in Gaza and criticism of the way Israel conducted its offensive, she said: “I think everyone is worried about what is happening in Gaza and about civilians in Israel.”
“Israel is doing its best. This is a war. Israel did not start this war”, he argued.
Hamas militants invaded Israel in a surprise incursion on October 7, killing more than 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages.
Israel responded with weeks of attacks on Gaza, which killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, according to local authorities.
The show of support for Israel comes as condemnation of the conflict grows around the world and as US President Joe Biden urges Tel Aviv to moderate some of its tactics to alleviate civilian suffering in Gaza, after expressing full solidarity with the Israelis in the first weeks of the war.
Read Also: Medical team remains “trapped” in Al-Quds hospital
All News. By the Minute.
Seventh consecutive year Consumer Choice for Online Press.
Download our free App.