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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday evening condemned an alleged violent attack on Jewish guests by a crowd of pro-Palestinian supporters, which is being investigated as a possible hate crime.
Video footage of the attack on social media showed a group attacking at least two people outside the Sushi Fumi restaurant in the Beverly Grove neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles.
In two tweets about violence, Garcetti, a Democrat, wrote that Los Angeles “has no place for anti-Semitism, discrimination, or prejudice of any kind. And we will never tolerate bigotry and violence in our communities.”
“We as a city condemn last night’s organized anti-Semitic attack,” he added. “Jewish Angelenos, like all residents of our city, should always feel safe.”
In various video clips, a man is thrown to the ground while another grabs a partition bar that separates the sidewalk from an outdoor dining area and swings it against the attackers.
He then tries to run away, but is grabbed by two men who kick and hit him before running away seconds later.
In a subsequent video, an off-camera witness is heard saying that a group of pro-Palestinian supporters sat in a car and got out near the restaurant.
“A group of Palestinians, about 30 of them, jumped out of a car and asked who was Jewish,” the person says. “Two guys said it was them and they beat them up.”
Shortly before the attack, a group of Palestinian supporters sat in a vehicle that was waving a giant flag and, according to additional footage, shouted anti-Semitic blurring through a megaphone.
“Someone in one of the passing cars started throwing glass bottles or glass mugs on the tables and they broke all over the place,” an unknown woman told KCBS-TV.
Nobody was seriously injured.
In another incident, captured on surveillance video, a vehicle with passengers waving the Palestinian flag appears to be chasing an Orthodox Jewish man through a parking lot.
City councilor Paul Kortez, who represents the neighborhood in the 15-member committee, described both attacks as “incomprehensible”.
“We will never allow anyone to fear fear in our hearts because we are Jews,” he said in a statement. “We will not allow Middle Eastern violence to spill over to the streets of Los Angeles.
“Everyone has the right to express their opinion, but never by force,” he added. “Pro-Palestinian demonstrators are not allowed to viciously attack random people on the street because they happen to look or are Jewish.”
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A sushi restaurant employee hung up when a Fox News reporter asked about the incident on Tuesday. Los Angeles police told Fox News that the case is being investigated as a hate crime and that three suspects are being wanted.
The attacks took place amid escalating violence between Israeli forces and Hamas, the government organ in the Gaza Strip. The two sides have resisted each other through missile strikes and air strikes, resulting in dozens of deaths and widespread property damage.