Israel-Hamas War

Chicago City Council passes resolution condemning Hamas attack, standing with Israel

The City Council meeting and public comment grew contentious at times, with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson at one point threatening to clear the chamber if decorum could not be maintained

Chicago's City Council on Friday voted to approve a resolution declaring the city officially condemns the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel.

Under the resolution, drafted by Ald. Debra Silverstein, the city will "condemn this heinous terrorist attack by Hamas, stand in support of Israel, express our deepest sorrow for all innocent civilians, and pray for the safe release of all the hostages taken into Gaza."

The vote comes nearly one week after Hamas launched an incursion on Oct. 7, which killed hundreds, many at a crowded music festival, and led Israel to declare war and seal off the Gaza Strip. Many countries, including the U.S., the U.K. and Canada have designated Hamas a terrorist organization.

The City Council meeting and public comment grew contentious at times, with Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson threatening to clear the chamber if decorum could not be maintained. Some in protest of the resolution argued that it ignored Palestinian lives being lost.

At one point, protesters were removed from City Council chambers during the debate and began protesting in the lobby.

Palestinians fled in a mass exodus from northern Gaza Friday after Israel’s military told some 1 million people to evacuate toward the southern part of the besieged territory ahead of an expected ground invasion against the ruling Hamas militant group.

Israel has long accused Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel wanted to separate Hamas militants from the civilian population.

“So those who want to save their life, please go south,” he said at a news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said it would be impossible to stage such an evacuation without “devastating humanitarian consequences.” He called on Israel to rescind any such orders.

Hamas’ media office said warplanes struck cars fleeing south, killing more than 70 people, while Israel’s military said that its troops had conducted temporary raids in Gaza to battle militants. Israel said its soldiers also hunted for traces of some 150 people abducted in Hamas' brutal surprise attack.

Israel's raid was the first word of troops entering Gaza since Israel launched its round-the-clock bombardment in retaliation for Hamas’ attack, in which militant fighters massacred hundreds in southern Israel and snatched some 150 people to Gaza as hostages. An Evanston mother and daughter are believed to be among the hostages.

In the week-old war, the Gaza Health Ministry said Friday that roughly 1,800 people have been killed in the territory — more than half of them under the age of 18, or women. Hamas’ assault last Saturday killed more than 1,300 Israelis, most of whom were civilians, and roughly 1,500 Hamas militants were killed during the fighting, the Israeli government said.

In Israel, the public remains in shock over the extent and brutality of Hamas' weekend rampage.

In the Chicago area, synagogues, schools and daycares increased security protocols and police remained on alert amid reports of "increased threats of violence." Though officials said no credible threats have been identified, authorities said they are paying "special attention."

On Friday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said the state's Emergency Management Agency, Office of Homeland Security and state police "are closely monitoring the conflict in the Middle East and potential threats here in Illinois." The governor said the agencies are "on heightened alert for any threats related to places of worship across the state," but said there have so far been no credible threats in Illinois.

“As Governor of Illinois, it is my top priority to keep our residents safe and we are closely monitoring any potential threats that may arise,” Pritzker said in a statement. “While there are currently no credible threats here in Illinois, my administration is operating with heightened vigilance and working closely with IEMA-OHS and the Illinois State Police to keep people safe. Here in Illinois, we reject those who use violence to instill terror and fear and are committed to ensuring our religious institutions and schools remain safe.”

Chicago police also issued a statement this week saying that it has "no actionable intelligence regarding any credible threats in Chicago at this time," but noted that it is "paying special attention to synagogues and mosques" in the city.

"The Chicago Police Department stands alongside all the innocent victims affected by this heartbreaking and horrific situation. We are closely monitoring this situation alongside our local, state and federal partners and remain in constant communication," the department's statement read, adding that it is also "in close communication with community leaders and elected officials."

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