Anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes in London have soared amid the Israel-Hamas war, the British capital’s Metropolitan Police force said Friday.
Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 200 hostages.
More than 4,130 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments in retaliation, according to the Hamas health ministry in Gaza.
The Met, the UK’s biggest police force, said there had been 218 anti-Semitic offences in London between October 1 and 18, compared to 15 in the same period last year.
The force added that Islamophobic crimes had increased from 42 to 101 during the same period.
Police boosted patrols across parts of London and deployed officers to religious schools and places of worship following Hamas’s October 7 attack against Israel.
“Regrettably, despite the increased presence of officers we have seen a significant increase in hate crime across London,” the Met said, adding it had made 21 arrests for such offences.
The arrests included a man detained on suspicion of defacing posters of missing Israelis. Another man is accused over ten incidents of Islamophobic graffiti on bus stops.
The British government has said there should be “zero tolerance for anti-Semitism or glorification of terrorism” on Britain’s streets.
Last week it announced £3 million ($3.7 million) of extra funding to help protect the Jewish community from anti-Semitic attacks.
Tens of thousands of people rallied last weekend in London and other UK in support of Palestinians.
Another pro-Palestinian march is organised for London on Saturday. More than 1,000 officers are to police the event, the Met said.
The force reiterated that while supporting Hamas — a banned terrorist organisation in Britain — is a crime, general expressions of support for Palestinians, including flying the Palestinian flag, are not criminal offences.