Pro-Palestinian graffiti has been daubed on bridges in an area of London with a prominent Jewish population amid the renewed violence between Hamas and Israel.
Free Palestine has been written on the structures in Golders Green, north-west London, in what has been called “a deliberate attempt to intimidate the Jewish community”.
The graffiti is being investigated as a potential hate crime by British Transport Police (BTP).
Dave Rich from Jewish safety charity the Community Security Trust said: “This graffiti is a deliberate attempt to intimidate the Jewish community.
“It is disgraceful and should be roundly condemned by all sides. We expect the police to fully investigate because this cannot be allowed to continue.”
The force said in a statement: “Preventing and tackling hate crime is a BTP priority – no one should be subjected to violence or harassment because of who they are.
“If you see or experience hate crime on the rail network, please report it as soon as possible via the Railway Guardian app, by texting 61016, or calling 0800 40 50 40. In an emergency always call 999.”
A kosher restaurant in Golders Green also had its window smashed and cash register stolen, but this is not being treated as a hate crime.
The Metropolitan Police has said more officers will be on the streets across London to provide reassurance and that it has an “appropriate” plan in place to deal with a pro-Palestine rally outside the Israeli embassy on Monday.
Earlier communities minister Lee Rowley stressed that protesters should not attempt to glorify the attack by Hamas on Israel on Saturday that sparked the latest bout of violence in the region.
He told Sky News: “You cannot support proscribed organisations like Hamas within the United Kingdom, and if that’s the case then I would expect police to take action accordingly.
“I would encourage people not to go out and to protest in a way that they can. But, ultimately, there is a right to protest, but there is not a right … to glorify terrorism.
“People shouldn’t break the law. People should also have the decency to recognise that over 1,000 people have died over the weekend in a completely unprovoked attack, and I would be very cautious about what people are doing.”