Jewish groups respond to Wednesday’s deadly incident in which three people were killed by an attacker in the English city
Following Wednesday’s terror attack in which at least two civilians and a police officer were killed outside the houses of Parliament in London, leaders of the city’s Jewish community instructed its members to be cautious in the coming days, in the aftermath of the ramming and knife attacks.
More than 20 are reported injured, some seriously. The attacker was shot and killed by police after crashing into a crowd of pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then exiting the vehicle brandishing a knife. He stabbed a police officer to death inside the gates of the Parliament building. Police believe they know the identity of the attacker but have not named him.
The Community Security Trust, the United Kingdom’s main watchdog group on antisemitism, called on the Jewish community to be “calm, vigilant and to cooperate with security measures,” a spokesman told the London-based Jewish Chronicle. The CST said there is not believed to be any immediate threat to the community.
Additional police patrols were visible in London neighborhoods with large Jewish populations, such as Stamford Hills.
UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said in a statement: “Today’s attack, which targeted the very heart of our democracy in Westminster, will serve only to unite us against the scourge of violence and terrorism.
“The prayers of the Jewish community are with the families of the victims and with our security services, who so often selflessly place themselves in harm’s way for our protection.”
The European Jewish Congress (EJC) also strongly condemned the terror attack in London.
“This strike, at the heart of democracy, on the anniversary of the Brussels attacks which claimed the lives of 32 people, once again demonstrates that radical extremists continue to have the ability and motivation to commit mass murder in Europe,” President of the EJC, Dr. Moshe Kantor said in a statement.
Noting that the Westminster attack occurred on the same date as the deadly Brussels attacks last year, Kantor said: “This murderous ideology targets all of Europeans and all of Europe must stand together to fight this scourge.
He called for greater intelligence sharing among European law enforcement and intelligence agencies and stronger policing laws “to act against those in Europe, and across the world, who provide the means, motivation and ideology to enable these attacks.”
“The European Jewish Congress and the Jewish communities of Europe extend our deepest condolences to the British Government and people and pray for the welfare of those injured,” the statement read. “We call for a robust and collective response which clearly identifies the culprits and the ideology which underpins these acts.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “The thoughts and prayers of everyone here go out to the victims, families and everyone caught up in today’s attack at Westminster.”
As of Thursday morning, British police have arrested seven people in the investigation into an attacker, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer said on Thursday.
Police have described the attack on Wednesday as a “marauding terrorist incident” and said they were working on the assumption that it was “Islamist-related.”