Drunken gang brawls at London synagogue

Armed police swarm to scene as worshipers battle against hooligans forcing their way in

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Six men were arrested in London early Sunday morning after a large crowd of party revelers attacked a synagogue, breaking windows and trying to forcing their way inside.

According to The Mirror tabloid, trouble started after an intoxicated gang of around 20 young men and women, who had been at a party in a nearby house, tried to enter the synagogue on Craven Park Road in the heart of London’s Stamford Hill area, home to Europe’s largest ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

One Jewish man suffered light injuries to his face as he tried to prevent the gang from entering the premises. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police received a desperate call for help at around 1:15 a.m. and a video filmed from inside the synagogue showed a small group of Jewish men trying to hold back the invaders, who screamed anti-Semitic abuse and expletives from outside and hurled objects at the doors, smashing the windows.

As the Jews arm themselves with chairs and even a floor mop, the crowd outside continues to batter the doors. Occasionally, figures, both men and women, can be seen entering through the doors apparently in an attempt to calm the tensions. One of the women can be heard apologizing for the damaged doors even as the raucous abuse continues from outside.

Additional video clips showed large numbers of police arriving at the scene, including some who appeared to be heavily armed.

“We are investigating to establish the full circumstances of the incident and to identify anyone else involved in the disturbance who has not yet been arrested,” Inspector Jonathan Waterfield, according to the report. “We have also increased police patrols in the Stamford Hill area to provide reassurance to the community.”

Local residents told The Times of Israel that the clash may have begun as an exchange of words between the party-goers and young Jewish men outside the synagogue.

Although the incident did not seem to be planned, investigators were treating it as an anti-Semitic attack because of some of the verbal abuse.

Jews in Europe have raised alarms in recent months over an apparent uptick in anti-Semitic incidents, including a number of violent attacks.

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