Northern Ireland

Belfast mural graffiti treated as 'hate crime'

Mural daubed with graffiti Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The mural has been attacked before

Police are treating as a hate crime the defacement of a Belfast memorial to an Irish Zionist who fought in World War One.

The words "scum" and "Nazis" were daubed on the mural at the junction of Beverley Street and Northumberland Street.

It honours the life of Lieutenant Colonel John Henry Patterson.

He served in the British Army and commanded a volunteer force known as the Jewish Legion.

Police said the incident happened some time between Thursday evening and Friday morning and have appealed for information about the incident.

DUP MLA William Humphrey said those responsible for the graffiti were not reflective of Belfast and offered his full support to the city's Jewish community.

"I'm appalled that sick, evil people have sprayed grossly offensive anti-Semitic graffiti on a pro-Israel mural," he said.

"The Jewish community has and continues to make an important contribution to the religious, cultural, commercial and business life of Belfast."