Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Jewish patrol cars out in force in London amid fears of copycat attack in wake of kosher store siege in Paris 

Extra Jewish security patrol cars and police were out in force in North-West London yesterday following the kosher store siege in Paris.

The cars look very similar to police vehicles and bear the security group's name 'Shomrim' – Hebrew for 'guards' – along the sides and back.

The Orthodox organisation, which works closely with the Metropolitan Police, tweeted from their @shomrimlondon account: 'Following events in Paris we will have on extra patrols throughout NW London over Shabbos [ the Jewish sabbath].' 

Shomrim volunteers receive police training and uniforms, including knife-proof vests.

'We ask the community to remain calm and vigilant.'  

Tributes have continued to be paid to the victims of three days of terrorist atrocities which left 17 people dead.

Shomrim tweeted on Friday: 'Our thoughts and prayers are with the Jewish community in Paris, the victims and families of victims in today's attacks.' 

Based in North West London, and with a sister organisation in North East London, the volunteers are trained by the Metropolitan Police and patrol the area regularly looking for anti-Semitic hate crimes, and general disorder in the neighbourhood.

The volunteer group, similar to a Neighbourhood Watch, are trained to safely track and detain suspects until police arrive, and run a 24-hour hotline for those in the area to report attacks.

A million people, including 30 world leaders, are set to attend a rally in a show of unity in Paris today after hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets of France yesterday in a day of national mourning.

Yesterday, hundreds of flowers were laid at the scene in tribute to the victims of the Paris kosher deli massacre, where four hostages lost their lives on Friday. 

Dozens of heavily armed police stood guard and extended the security area outside the Hyper Cacher grocery, as people left bouquets of flowers close to the scene on the outskirts of the French capital.

A young Jewish man who arrived to leave a bunch of flowers to honour the victims described the massacre as an 'attack on democracy'.

The man, who was in his 20s but did not give his name, said: 'Today is a very sad day for all of France.

'This is not just an attack on the Jewish community, this is an attack on everyone, on all of France. This is an attack on democracy.'

At the Synagogue de Vincennes, just a brief walk from the grocery store, seven heavily armed policeman nervously kept watch and refused to let anyone approach the place of worship.

An extended security cordon had been placed on the streets around the synagogue and police were keen to quickly move people on amid fear of further attacks in the area.

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