Hackney: Man in his 60s arrested after suspected antisemitic arson attack in east London

A man has been arrested after four people were injured in a suspected arson attack on a house in east London, that may have been a hate crime, police have said.

A man in his 60s "made a number of threatening comments, some of which were allegedly antisemitic", when he was arrested near the scene, the Metropolitan Police said.

Officers were called to reports of a fire at an address in Newick Road, Hackney, shortly before 1pm on Wednesday.

London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service crews also attended.

A man in his 60s was arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life nearby, shortly afterwards.

It is believed that the fire was started deliberately, police said.

Three of the injured live at neighbouring addresses, while the fourth was a passer-by.

None of them are in a life-threatening condition, police said. The suspect suffered minor injuries in the fire.

Detective Chief Superintendent James Conway, responsible for policing in Hackney, said: "On his arrest, the man made a number of threatening comments, some of which were allegedly antisemitic.

"We take instances of antisemitism extremely seriously and for this reason we're investigating the incident as a potential hate crime.

"Undoubtedly, this will be extremely concerning news for our Jewish communities in Hackney and beyond, and I and my officers will be engaging with partners including the Community Safety Trust and the Shomrim, to answer their questions and listen to their views.

"Whilst the investigation will continue to explore the motivation for this offence, we believe at this stage that this was centred on a localised housing-related issue. We have no indication, at this very early stage, that the motivation was connected with any specific local or global events.

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"I know our Jewish communities are about to begin celebrations for Purim, and we have a robust policing plan in place, including increased patrols and enhanced police visibility, to ensure the festivities can be enjoyed safely and securely."

The man arrested is currently being treated in hospital for minor injuries sustained in the fire.

Further enquiries are ongoing.

There is no suggestion at this time that the incident is terrorism-related, the force said.