A Jewish man was brutally attacked in a London, UK supermarket by an assailant who threatened to “find a Jew to kill.”
London police are looking for a suspect who can be seen on CCTV footage they have released, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
The attack took place in West Hampstead in north London at 7:20 p.m. on December 2, during Hanukkah, but is only now being made public by police who are actively searching for the assailant.
The victim was attacked as he was on his way home from work and leaving a West Hampstead subway station.
The suspect was initially vandalizing a public menorah when he accosted the victim, demanding to know if he was Jewish.
He told him, “I want to find a Jew to kill.”
The victim immediately called the police, but was told that the incident would not be given high priority. He subsequently took shelter in a Marks and Spencer store.
The alleged attacker put on a face mask and followed him, screaming: “You are Jewish. I am going to kill you.”
The attacker flew into a rage and began punching the victim repeatedly, including in the head.
He yelled at him: “I am not leaving until you are dead.”
The Jewish man tried to run away but the assailant followed him, shouting in Arabic that “I will kill you now, you Jew” while implying he was in possession of a knife.
The suspect made a cutthroat gesture across his neck and then left the store.
“This was an extremely nasty antisemitic assault that involved threats of serious violence,” said the Community Security Trust in a Twitter post. “We have been supporting the victim and working with [the police] since the incident.”
Stephen Silverman, Director of investigations and enforcement at Campaign Against Antisemitism, told the Chronicle: “The delayed response of the police, despite the close proximity of a police station just up the road, is deeply concerning, and the result is that a man who apparently wants to kill Jews is now at liberty.”
He added: “This is the most heinous of a considerable number of antisemitic crimes that we have reported over the course of Hanukkah. 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.”
The London Metropolitan Police responded in a statement.
“We are aware of comments made in relation to this incident, specifically on the police response time and the prioritization of the call,” they said. “Each call to the police is graded based on the information available at the time and in this case, the suspect no longer being in the area meant it did not require the highest priority response.”
They explained that “officers are still allocated to attend non-priority calls to gather evidence and commence investigations but the target time for a response is slightly longer.”
Noting that “a second call was received at during which the caller confirmed the suspect had returned,” they said that call was “graded as a priority requiring an immediate response and officers were dispatched to the scene.”
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)