An elderly Jewish man was assaulted by a younger man in the London Borough of Islington in what witnesses said was an anti-Semitic attack.
The assault happened on Tuesday afternoon at Highbury Corner. The attacker was in his thirties and had a shaved head, according to witnesses who spoke to the Islington Gazette.
The attacker asked the man, who is in his seventies, if he was Jewish before punching him in the face, causing the victim to bleed, one witness was quoted as saying. The attacker fled the scene. Police are investigating the incident, which did not result in life-threatening injuries.
Chief Superindendent Raj Kohli, of the Metropolitan police, tweeted his concern at the attack and vowed to catch the assailant.
“So very sorry for the victim, his family and the wider Jewish community for this awful and targeted attack,” he wrote. “Hate crime is vile, unacceptable and makes minority communities feel vulnerable.:
Local police, he said, “will do our utmost to find out who did this.”
So very sorry for the victim, his family and the wider Jewish community for this awful and targeted attack. Hate crime is vile, unacceptable and makes minority communities feel vulnerable. @MPSCamden and @MPSIslington will do our utmost to find out who did this.
— Chief Supt Raj Kohli (@MPSRajKohli) February 27, 2019
Marian Kennedy, a witness, said the attack against the man, who was wearing a checked shirt and overcoat, was totally unprovoked.
“He was punching him violently and right in the face with a closed fist. The older gentleman was utterly defenseless. He was being hit really hard and my instinct was jump between them but there was so much rage and violence,” she told the Gazette.
The victim was not named in the report.
Kennedy also said that she called out for the attacker to stop, at which point he pivoted around and claimed the old man had hit him with the stick.
“Blood was pouring from the old man’s mouth and his body must have taken a lot of blows. The attacker ran off very fast. He was manic. The older man said he’d never seen him before. It was a random attack.”