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Boston’s Jewish institutions on alert


A security alert warning of possible extremist attacks on “soft targets” amid increased tensions between Israel and Iran has Boston police as well as the city’s Israeli consulate on high alert.

“We’re in contact with the State Department, Boston police, the usual suspects,” said Kelly Anne Smith, spokeswoman for the Israeli consulate in Boston. “We don’t comment on specifics.”

Boston police said they were aware of the possible threat posed to the Back Bay offices of the Israeli government and were responding with extra patrols to that and other prominent Jewish locations in the city.

“In light of increased tensions in the Middle East, Boston Police are adding directed patrols and premise checks,” Boston Police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said in a statement. “There is no specific threat locally, but we do maintain close contact and constant communication with the Department of Homeland Security and our other federal partners.”

Rafi Ron of New Age Security in Texas, an Israeli security consultant who has worked in Boston, said Israeli and Jewish interests worldwide face an ongoing threat from Iranian terrorists. “There is a common knowledge by what seem to be intelligent sources that there’s a lot of talk about retaliation to events in Iran. There’s much more chatter in the network. This has led to recommendations at different Israeli facilities to increase the level of alert, and implement a higher level of security.”

Andrew Gully, spokesman for Brandeis University in Waltham, said the Jewish-sponsored nonsectarian school is in constant contact with law enforcement and remains vigilant.

“We’re always aware of any heightened security alerts that come out of the State Department, the commonwealth, or out of local law enforcement,” he said. “The university is aware of warnings that have been out there. We’re assessing those warnings. We’re confident in the safety and security of the campus.”

Israel is widely viewed as contemplating a preemptive strike to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and has warned that U.S.-backed sanctions will only give Iran time to move the program into hiding. U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton) said yesterday, “I would hope that the Iranians would understand the world’s overwhelming concern about them having nuclear weapons and that’s why I’ve been very supportive of sanctions. I’m hoping very much that we would deal with that short of an attack.”

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