Jewish targets attacked in Europe after Gaza invasion

January 6th, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 6 (IANS) Three youths tried to torch a synagogue in London amid a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in Britain and elsewhere in Europe since the Israeli invasion of Gaza, Jewish groups said Tuesday.The incident, believed by police to be directly linked to events in the Middle East, occurred at the weekend at Brondesbury Park in northwest London.

The arsonists first tried to smash open a window but failed because of the toughened glass in place to protect such buildings from terrorist attacks, a Jewish security group said.

“Having been thwarted, they then appear to have attempted to set the front door alight with petrol, causing some damage to the exterior of the premises,” Mark Gardner of the Jewish charity, the Community Security Trust (CST), told the Evening Standard.

British police were reported to be liaising closely with Jewish groups and ‘reassurance patrols’ had been increased in areas with substantial Jewish populations, including Manchester and London.

In North Manchester, barriers have been placed outside King David High School and entry is being restricted to passholders, the Times newspaper reported.

“When the Hamas leadership calls for revenge attacks on Jewish people, we have to be very, very concerned about what that means,” Gardner said.

The CST, which provides security, training and advice and protects British Jews from extremism, has reported more than 20 anti-Semitic incidents to police in the past week.

Apart from the attempted arson attack on the London synagogue, a Jewish motorist was pulled from his car and punched last week.

The CST has also reported an incident where a gang of youths chanting anti-Semitic slogans tried to enter restaurants and shops in Golders Green, a London suburb with a large Jewish population.

Anti-Semitic graffiti are reported to have been sprayed in Jewish areas across London.

“It is a pattern with which we and police are now sadly familiar, whereby hysteria is whipped up against Israel and British Jews then suffer a wave of anti-Semitism,” Gardner said.

Similar incidents have also been reported in Belgium, where a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue in Brussels Monday, according to ynetnews.com, which specialises in Jewish news.

It said no injuries were reported, but the building sustained damage.

It also reported an attempt to torch the house of a Jewish family in Antwerp by unknown assailants Saturday.

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