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Authorities Increase Security At Local Synagogues Following Texas Standoff

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) — The standoff Saturday at a Texas synagogue caused law enforcement in Southern California to step up security out of an abundance of caution.

Four people at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville in Texas had been taken hostage by a suspect who demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida. After several hours, an FBI SWAT team entered the building, and the hostage taker was killed, according to the Associated Press.

Such, however, caused concern among Los Angeles' Jewish community.

"For this to happen on a Saturday morning when you are praying for peace, it is a Jewish nightmare," said Rabbi Noah Farkas of the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles. Farkas operates as the CEO.

Farkas said the hostage situation in Texas was another reminder of people of Jewish faith being attacked. He said locally, the federation spends nearly $1 million a year on security for their congregations, schools, and other agencies as local synagogues have been a target of hate in the past.

"No one in America should have to spend a single dollar on security to go worship, but unfortunately this is an extra burden for being Jewish in America today," he said.

Out of an abundance of caution, Beverly Hills PD and the LAPD have increased patrols around area synagogues. While there are currently no local threats, authorities want to assure people they are being vigilant.

"We understand that these types of incidents can have a reverberating effect across communities and that may cause anxiety, concerns or fears and we want to send a message of reassurance to our community," said Lt. Giovanni Trejo of the Beverly Hills P.D.

Farkas said his heart is with those affected by the hostage situation and says this type of hate won't be tolerated.

Meanwhile, authorities want to encourage people to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

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