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Religious leaders and police discuss safety measures in Massachusetts following Iran drone attack

Religious leaders and professors in Massachusetts react to Iran drone attack against Israel
Religious leaders and professors in Massachusetts react to Iran drone attack against Israel 02:48

BOSTON - The effects of Iran launching drones into Israel on Saturday night could be felt all the way in Massachusetts.

According to the Israeli military, Iran launched drones into Israel in retaliation for an alleged Israeli strike on an Iranian Consulate in Damascus earlier this month.

"Security forces know what's going on, it's one of the main focuses," said Consul General of Israel to New England Moren Reuben.

The safety of New England

He promised protection for neighbors and said he's in contact with Governor Healey, ensuring the safety of New England in the wake of the attacks.

"I spoke during the day with Governor Healey. We do know that the situation has brought about an incredible increase in anti-Semitic attacks. Yes, security is something that we are worried about and I think not only at the consulate, but the Jewish communities around New England. This is something all the authorities understand," Reuben said.

Reuben said security will increase outside the Boston Consulate and across the region, with a focus on houses of worship and the marathon on Monday.

"We can be very thankful for the security forces Boston has," said Reuben.

Marathon safety

Law enforcement spoke to reporters ahead of the race and guaranteed a safe event while they monitored safety concerns at home and abroad.

"The ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the possibility of an attack against Americans here at home," said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Boston. "Our most immediate concern are homegrown violent extremists or lone actors who self-radicalize with little to no warning and look to attack soft targets."

"We'll deploy undercover troopers and officers who have been trained to recognize behavioral red flags that might indicate that someone is a safety threat," said Massachusetts State Police Col. John Mawn.  

 "It's devastating what's happening over there," said ten-time marathon runner Chris Vollaro. He is confident in law enforcement safety measures.

"There's no way you can completely 100 percent secure a 26-mile event, but after running it for many years, I feel very safe," said Vollaro.

Students unable to study abroad

The conflict is affecting communities across New England. Students studying abroad were brought home after Hamas Militant Groups attacked Israel back in October. It's unclear when those programs will continue.

"At Northeastern, our formal programs to Israel have been suspended since the beginning of the conflict in Gaza," said Professor of Jewish Studies at Northeastern Lori Lefkovitz.

She is responsible for taking groups to Israel and said many of her students have loved ones there, and they are hoping they'll be safe.

"We are just terrified I think. Many of us with attachments in Israel are terrified. Our hearts are in our stomachs right now we are waiting to see what happens," said Lefkovitz.

New England officials told WBZ that they are keeping an eye on the conflict in the Middle East and that they will increase security if needed in the region.

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