Arson attack on mural treated as anti-Semitic hate crime
An interface mural celebrating the links between Ireland and Israel has been targeted by arsonists in an attack which police are treating as an anti-Semitic hate crime.
The artwork was set alight just hours after two West Bank Palestinians shot four Israelis dead in Tel Aviv in an attack welcomed by Hamas.
The mural, unveiled in Northumberland Street, Belfast, in 2015 honours the life and work of Lt-Col John Henry Patterson, an Irish officer from Co Longford who established the first Jewish fighting formation in the British Army during World War One.
After commanding a volunteer force which became known as the Jewish Legion during the war, Patterson became a committed supporter of the creation of a Jewish state.
Sandy Row pastor, the Rev Paul Burns, said he was outraged at the attack on the mural, saying many Jewish friends had been in touch with him. "This hate crime was done by anti-Semitic morons with a bitterness against Israel and a bitterness against Jewish people," he said.
The PSNI said they received a report of a fire at a memorial in the area of Northumberland Street in north Belfast during the early hours of yesterday.
It was reported two containers of accelerant had been set alight close to the memorial. A fire crew attended and put the fire out.