10:45 GMT09 April 2020
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    The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reported that 'white supremacists' are encouraging members who have become infected with COVID-19 to spread the virus to police officers and Jewish people.

    According to the FBI’s New York office, the law enforcement agency has gathered intelligence that reveals that "members of extremist groups are encouraging one another to spread the virus, if contracted, through bodily fluids and personal interactions."

    The FBI’s alert, which was released Thursday, notified local police agencies that 'white supremacist' groups have been encouraging their followers to spread their bodily fluids to police through spray bottles. The racist extremists are also urging members to infect Jewish people with the coronavirus by going "any place they may be congregated, to include markets, political offices, businesses and places of worship."

    Although the FBI has declined to publicly comment on the alert, it did release a statement to The Hill on Monday stating that “FBI field offices routinely share information with their local law enforcement partners to assist in protecting the communities they serve.”

    “These products are intended to be informative in nature, and as such, they contain appropriate caveats to describe the confidence in the sourcing of information and the likelihood of the assessment. Additionally, when written at a local level, these products will note that the perspective offered may be limited to the field office’s area of responsibility,” the statement adds.

    The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a group whose mission is to “stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” also reported earlier this month that some extremists online are claiming that Jewish people are “responsible for creating the virus, are spreading it to increase their control over a decimated population” and “profiting off it.”

    In a statement to ABC News, Michael Masters, who leads the Secure Communities Network, a nonprofit committed to serving “the American Jewish community concerning matters of communal safety,” commented on how extremists are using the coronavirus to spread disinformation.

    “From pushing the idea that Jews created the coronavirus virus to sell vaccines to encouraging infected followers to try to spread the illness to the Jewish community and law enforcement, as the coronavirus has spread, we have observed how white supremacists, neo-Nazis and others have used this to drive their own conspiracy theories, spread disinformation and incite violence on their online platforms,” Masters said.

    "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 added.

    The latest Johns Hopkins University data reveals that there are more than 372,000 coronavirus cases globally, with more than 16,300 deaths as a result. In the US, there are more than 41,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and at least 517 people have died.  

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    white supremacist groups, white supremacists, coronavirus, COVID-19, United States
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