UK PM Sunak: There has been a ‘disgusting’ rise in antisemitic incidents

LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday there had been a “disgusting” rise in antisemitic incidents since last weekend’s attack on Israel by Hamas, as police stepped up patrols in vulnerable communities.

London’s Metropolitan Police said there had been 105 reports of antisemitic incidents and 75 antisemitic offences between Sept. 29 and Oct. 12, compared with 14 incidents and 12 offences in the same period a year ago.

“There’s been a quite frankly disgusting rise in antisemitic incidents over the past few days, that’s not right,” Sunak told reporters. “We will absolutely not tolerate people inciting hatred or violence or racist activity.”

On Thursday, Sunak boosted funding to protect local Jewish institutions.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said police would be working longer shifts to keep the city safe and reassure vulnerable communities, including officers being positioned inside synagogues as a show of support.

“There will be additional police presence this weekend,” he told Sky News on Friday.

The Metropolitan Police said more than 1,000 officers would be on duty on Saturday to police a planned ‘March for Palestine’ taking place in central London on Saturday, which it expects thousands of people to travel to the capital for.

“Anyone with a flag in support of Hamas or any other proscribed terrorist organisation will be arrested,” Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said.

The Met said that as well as extra security patrols, its officers had visited more than 200 schools and more than 300 synagogues, mosques and other places of worship.

It said there had also been an increase in Islamophobia, with 58 incidents in the Sept. 29-Oct. 12 period, compared to 31 in the same fortnight last year.

Separately, counter-terrorism police said they had arrested a 22-year-old woman from Brighton on suspicion of supporting a proscribed organisation, namely Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah (Hamas), under Section 12 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

She was investigated following a speech she made at a protest on Sunday.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and William James; editing by Sarah Young and Elizabeth Piper)