Suspected London arson investigated as possible anti-Semitic hate crime

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway said: “On his arrest, the man made a number of threatening comments, some of which were allegedly anti-Semitic. We take instances of anti-Semitism extremely seriously, and for this reason we’re investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.

“Undoubtedly this will be extremely concerning news for our Jewish communities in Hackney and beyond, and I and my officers will be engaging with partners including the Community Safety Trust and the Shomrim to answer their questions and listen to their views.

“Whilst the investigation will continue to explore the motivation for this offence, we believe at this stage that this was centred on a localised housing-related issue. We have no indication, at this very early stage, that the motivation was connected with any specific local or global events.”

A 43-year-old man, who chose not to give his name, said he heard a loud bang from his house across the road.

He came outside to find his neighbours’ house ablaze and saw an injured man outside who was “covered in blood”.

“Everyone was freaking out,” he said. “You could see everyone was just in general shock.

“There was a guy staggering around with blood on his head. He was standing just outside and was very disoriented and was covered in blood.”

The witness said the property, which is believed to consist of three separate flats, was home to two families, as well as a man.

Det Ch Supt Conway said the Met had a robust policing plan in place, including increased patrols and enhanced police visibility, as Jewish communities begin celebrations for the Purim holiday period.

It comes after Israel’s diaspora minister claimed on Wednesday that London is the most anti-Semitic place in the West.

Amichai Chikli, a hardliner who is also in charge of anti-Semitism affairs, said a mix of far-Left “wokeism” and Islamist extremism meant the capital city was no longer safe for Jews.

In February, Community Security Trust (CST) data found that anti-Semitism hit an all-time high last year in an “explosion of hatred” against the Jewish community following the Oct 7 Hamas terror attacks on Israel and the military response in Gaza.

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