In the wake of a U.S. drone strike that killed top Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, the Chabad Lubavitch Security Commission warned Chabad emissaries around the world about possible revenge attacks.
“There is a strong likelihood that Iran will retaliate whether directly or indirectly,” the commission said in an email on January 2, adding that the situation could constitute a “heightened risk and threat environment for Jewish facilities and Chabad centers.”
The email advised the emissaries, known as shluchim, to exercise caution while walking in public or around Jewish institutions and to report any suspicious behavior, “no matter how trivial it may seem.”
In a statement, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has promised “a forceful revenge” for Soleimani’s death. On January 2, a former U.S. official told Politico that Iran could strike anywhere, saying, “It could be targets in Africa, it could be in Latin America, it could be in the Gulf, it could be anything.”
Iran has previously targeted Jewish institutions, most notably directing the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Argentina in 1994, an attack now thought to be retaliation for the Israeli assassination of a Hezbollah founder two years before.
The Chabad Lubavitch Security Commission was founded after a 2008 terror attack in Mumbai that targeted several locations in the city, including a Chabad house. The body provides security advice and support to shluchim stationed across the world.
According to its website, Chabad operates approximately 3,500 institutions in over 100 countries, most operated by husband-and-wife teams.
Irene Katz Connelly is an intern at the Forward. You can contact her at email@example.com.