Extremist groups are encouraging their members to spread the novel coronavirus to Jewish people and police “through bodily fluids and personal interactions,” according to FBI intelligence obtained by ABC News.
The FBI’s New York office said extremists are also directing followers to spread the disease to Jews by going “any place they may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship” and to police by using spray bottles to spread bodily fluids.
The coronavirus has infected 329,000 people worldwide and killed 14,300 people.
Some white-supremacist groups blame Jews and Jewish leaders for the coronavirus and the global response, and extremist-friendly platforms like Telegram, 4Chan and Gab have seen an increase in posts linking the virus to racist and antisemitic slurs and memes.
Michael Masters, the head of Secure Communities Network, the security agency for the national Jewish community, told ABC News that extremist groups have used the virus to spread disinformation and “incite violence on their own platform.”
"While the world faces a deadly pandemic, it’s a stark reminder that certain groups – notably the Jewish community and law enforcement – must also continue the battle against those who wish to hurt or kill them," Masters said. "As the economic situation remains fragile and civil society disrupted, the potential for the followers of hate to act becomes more likely ... and more deadly.”
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