Police hunt ‘knifeman’ over alleged antisemitic assault in West Hampstead
A man was injured in an antisemitic attack during Chanukah, the Metropolitan Police said.
The force is searching for a man wanted in connection with the racially aggravated assault which happened outside West Hampstead Overground Station in London on Thursday, 2 December.
It is said the 20-year-old victim was approached by the man who hurled antisemitic comments at him after he also allegedly damaged a display that had been put up to celebrate the Jewish festival of Chanukah.
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Antisemitism.org reported the man singled out the victim and told him: “You look Jewish” and that he “wanted to kill his first Jew”.
The Met said the suspect then “assaulted the victim whilst intimating he was in possession of a knife before leaving the scene”.
In a statement, the force said officers were called at around 7.35pm the same day and the victim was not seriously injured in the attack.
The incident was described by Home Secretary Priti Patel as “seriously disturbing”.
She said in a tweet: “Seriously disturbing antisemitic incident in north London. I will remain in close contact with @metpoliceuk and @CST_UK as the investigation progresses and I would urge anyone with info to contact the police immediately.”
The Community Security Trust said the victim had contacted their helpline to detail the attack: “This was an incredibly serious, unprovoked assault, clearly motivated by anti-Jewish hatred, that was an extremely frightening experience for the victim.
“It could have been much worse, had he not managed to fight off his assailant and he showed immense courage in doing so. It is alarming that such a blatant racist attack could take place in such a public place, and we appeal to anyone who has any information that could help the investigation to contact the police or CST.”
Director of Investigations and Enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, Stephen Silverman said: “What this victim suffered is unspeakable.”
He added: “This is the most heinous of a considerable number of antisemitic crimes that we have reported over the course of Chanukah. The sad truth is that our nation’s capital is not nearly as safe as it should be for Jewish people who wish to celebrate a festival or, in this case, simply go about their daily lives.
“Unless the police and the justice system step up and ensure that antisemitic criminals face the full consequences of their despicable actions, this will not change.
“We are providing the victim with legal and other assistance. We urge the public to assist in the identification of the individual whose description has now been circulated.”
The Met added: “Officers have carried out a number of enquiries and have today released a CCTV image of a man they need to speak with.”
Anyone who recognises the man has been asked to call the police on 101 or tweet @MetCC quoting the reference CAD 6588/02Dec. They can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.