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UK Police Up Patrols in Jewish Areas After Paris Attacks

Friday, 16 Jan 2015 01:08 PM

U.K. police are stepping up patrols in Jewish areas as well as examining the security of their own officers after last week's terrorist attacks in France.

"The global picture of terrorist activity does give us heightened concern about the risk to the Jewish community in the U.K.," the country's top counter-terrorism officer, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, said today in a statement. "We are seeing continuing anti-Semitic rhetoric from extremists and attacks on this community in France and elsewhere."

The police are in talks with community leaders over what further protection measures they can take, Rowley said. Chief constables are also reviewing protection measures for police officers, and are looking to shield Muslim communities from "those who want to exploit the current situation and create fear," Rowley said.

The move comes the week after suspected Islamist gunmen killed 17 people in three days of attacks in France, which targeted the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery. France has also stepped up protection of Jewish sites.

In neighboring Belgium, police yesterday killed two suspected terrorists and arrested a third in a shootout in the eastern town of Verviers, preventing what they described as a "major" attack.

Severe Threat

Police chiefs across the U.K. are also looking at how better to protect their own officers as law enforcement have been deliberately targeted in the recent attacks, Rowley said.

The U.K. has been under a "severe" terrorist threat, the second highest on a five-point scale, since August as law enforcement officials struggle to grapple with radicalized individuals at home and abroad.

There is no specific intelligence suggesting an imminent attack on the U.K. Jewish community, according to the Community Security Trust, a group which provides security and training for the protection of British Jews.

"We hope that the increased police presence, alongside CST patrols, will help to reassure the Jewish community as they go about their lives during this difficult time," the CST said in a blog post.

Alex Neiss, 31, said the new police measures might mean he leaves his four kids at home tonight instead of taking them to the synagogue. CST had already started patrols in his north London neighborhood last weekend, he said, as he made his way home for the start of the sabbath at sunset.

"If my grandparents were alive, they would be weeping," said Neiss, a banker whose grandfather survived Auschwitz in World War II. "If they saw we were back to a place where people couldn't walk the streets in their own community out of fear."

Prime Minister David Cameron said authorities would do "everything possible to protect people," in an article for the Jewish Chronicle posted on Facebook today. He said "millions" have been spent protecting Jewish schools.

"The idea that the Jewish people once again feel unsafe in Europe is a truly sickening thought that strikes at the heart of everything we stand for," he wrote.


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U.K. police are stepping up patrols in Jewish areas as well as examining the security of their own officers after last week's terrorist attacks in France. The global picture of terrorist activity does give us heightened concern about the risk to the Jewish community in the...
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2015-08-16
Friday, 16 Jan 2015 01:08 PM
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