Khaled Meshaal, who helmed the group from 1996 to 2017, made the call to action on Yemeni television. He exhorted Muslims in the Middle East and across the globe to stand in solidarity with Palestinians on the designated "Day of Rage" last Oct. 13.
"We should take to the streets and the city squares in Arab and Islamic cities, as well as in cities everywhere where there are communities," Meshaal said, adding that the move is in support of the ongoing struggle against Israel. He also lauded the Oct. 7 Hamas attack during a music festival in Israel that killed 1,200 – including women, children and babies in Israel. (Related: Hostages held by Hamas in Gaza will be almost impossible to rescue, warns counterterrorism expert.)
Because of this, many Jews took extra precautions ahead of Oct. 13, with some even avoiding work and daily routines for fear of being targeted. NYC medical student Deena Albert, who is Jewish, stayed alert as much as possible.
"Everything's different because we have to be on extra alert today," she said. "My aunt in Israel texted me that she feels like she's being hunted down, and that's very much what we feel like here now."
A 32-year-old Jewish lawyer who chose to remain anonymous, revealed that this is the first time he has felt unsafe in the Big Apple. He mentioned looking over his shoulder more frequently in the last few days than ever before.
For some Jewish parents, the threat has disrupted their daily lives. One mother shared that her son's school was canceled due to safety concerns, and she planned to "avoid leaving the house."
But despite the fear and uncertainty, one religious Jew in NYC remains determined to express his identity.
"I feel unsafe, and I'm very worried that something's gonna happen to me either on the subway or out on the street when I'm at work. But I'm wearing my kippah (yarmulke) proudly because not wearing it would mean that their day of hate has won."
Irina Tsukerman, a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and the Arabian Peninsula Institute, put in her two cents on Mashal's proclamation. She warned that his call to action, combined with other factors, could foreshadow potential attacks on global Jewish communities.
"Hamas' [former] leader just came out in public calling for more attacks against Jewish and other targets in the West around the world on Oct. 13," Tsukerman said. "We could see both the rise of more direct lone wolf incidents inspired by these comments and eventually more efforts at mass casualty-oriented attacks, which will be better planned but will probably take more time to plan and will materialize weeks or months later."
Tsukerman also pointed out that Al-Azhar University, a premier Egyptian Sunni Islamic Institution, has urged Palestinians to die as martyrs while fighting against Israel.
In response to the threat, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and National Security Council issued a joint statement. The two offices urged Israelis abroad to take extra precautions, stay vigilant, avoid protests and seek updates from local security forces. The U.S. also ramped up its security measures for possible attacks in major cities, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) monitoring and addressing any concerns related to the "Day of Rage."
Meanwhile, France issued a prohibition on protests in support of Palestine. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin justified the ban by saying: "Pro-Palestinian demonstrations must be prohibited because they are likely to generate disturbances to the public order."
The minister also warned that organizing such protests would result in arrests. In turn, French police have been directed to ensure the security of locations frequently visited by French Jews, including synagogues and schools.
Visit Chaos.news for more stories about the Israel-Palestine war and protests for and against it.
Watch this video of pro-Israel demonstrators in New York City calling for genocide against all Palestinians.