Police on LI step up patrols at Jewish centers in wake of Hanukkah celebration stabbings

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Members of Long Island's Jewish community are horrified following a stabbing at a Hanukkah celebration in the Hudson Valley that left five people injured.

Police say more than 100 people were inside a rabbi's home in Rockland County when a man walked in and started stabbing.

Officials in Nassau and Suffolk counties say they're stepping up patrols at synagogues and at Jewish community centers.

One of the those places was the Chai Center in Dix Hills, where Rabbi Yakov Saacks says the temple has taken its own steps to improve security by installing surveillance cameras, bullet proof windows and hiring an armed guard.

"It's so unfortunate," Saacks says. "Is this 1933 Germany or is this 2020 New York?"

Officials say there are no credible threats against Long Island and the increased patrols are out of an abundance of caution. They are asking residents to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity.

"We can't stand and wait to become a victim," says Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder. "We have to come forward. Society has to come forward, tell law enforcement what they see, tell them their concerns and let the experts do what we do."

A suspect was arraigned Sunday in connection to the attack that has been branded an "act of domestic terror" by the governor.

Police say 37-year-old Grafton E. Thomas faces five counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary. He pleaded not guilty to the charges and was ordered held on $5 million bail at his arraignment Sunday in Ramapo Town Court, where he's due to make his next appearance Jan. 3.

The attack comes just weeks after the fatal shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City, and a month after a similar attack in Monsey where a man was stabbed while walking to a synagogue.

Officials say they're in constant contact with Jewish community leaders, as well as their law enforcement partners on the state and federal level.




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