Fury as war memorial vandalised hours after wreaths laid for British heroes

It comes as Rishi Sunak vowed to look at increasing police powers to prevent attacks on war memorials.

Lewisham war memorial

The war memorial was daubed with the words 'Israel is a terrorist state' (Image: Metropolitan Police)

An investigation has been launched after anti-Israel graffiti was found painted on the side of a war memorial in south London.

The graffiti was discovered on the memorial, on Lewisham High Street, on Monday, and is believed have been carried out between midday Sunday and 9am on Monday.

The slogan “Israel is a terrorist state” was painted on the monument on the evening of Remembrance Sunday - just hours after the service in which wreaths were laid at the site to honour those killed in war.

It has since been removed by the local authority, as the Metropolitan Police launch an appeal to try and track down the vandals behind it.

PC Andrew Dobson, investigating the incident, said: “Criminal damage and offensive comments of this nature are completely unacceptable and our team are doing all we can to identify those responsible.

“We know that incidents like this cause significant concern in our communities and we will be relentless in targeting those who commit such offences.

“We are asking anyone in the area on Sunday evening or overnight to think back as to whether they saw anything that could help us with our enquiries.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or ‘X’ @MetCC quoting ref 3230309/23 .To remain anonymous contact Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555.

But it is not the first war memorial to be the target of graffiti amid protests against Israel's bombing of Gaza.

Armistice Day March For A Ceasefire In Gaza London

Mr Sunak is calling for police to have more powers to tackle protests (Image: Getty)

Two teenagers were charged earlier this month after the Cenotaph in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, had the words "Free Palestine" painted on it.

One 17 year-old was charged with racially aggravated criminal damage and the other was charged with racially aggravated criminal damage and theft.

Rishi Sunak has vowed to look at increasing police powers to prevent protesters from climbing war memorials.

Last week Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, defended his officers for not arresting pro-Palestinian demonstrators after they climbed on the Royal Artillery monument near Hyde Park.

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He argued police could not “make up a law that it is illegal to do something”.

But Mr Sunak's official spokesman said: "It’s an affront to our Armed Forces, it goes against our British values, it’s not acceptable.

"We will look at what further measures are needed so that the police can have confidence in taking action on this.
"We do believe there are extensive powers available to them but the public will have been shocked and I’m sure appalled by what they saw."

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