An attack on a pregnant woman in which she was repeatedly punched after a pillowcase was put over her head is the latest in a string of anti-Semitic hate crimes, a rabbi has said.
The 20-year-old victim, who is around 28 weeks pregnant, was taken to hospital for treatment for minor injuries following the assault in Stamford Hill, London, last Thursday.
The Metropolitan Police said on Monday night a man, aged in his late 50s, had been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm at a residential address in Haringey and is in custody at an east London police station.
Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president of the Shomrim neighbourhood watch group in the area, said the assault was part of a “general spike” targeting Jewish women and girls.
CCTV footage shared online shows a man wearing a dark hooded jacket, dark trousers and white trainers and carrying a shopping trolley bag approach the woman from behind.
He can be seen putting a pillowcase over her head before repeatedly punching her, then running away.
Rabbi Gluck told the PA news agency: “Over the past month, there have been seven similar incidents, assaults on women and girls.
“He followed her for about a mile. In other words, it was clearly premeditated, it wasn’t an ‘opportunistic’ incident.
“It has reached a new level of violence. It seems he wanted to kill her. It’s a very shocking picture.”
He said the woman has been left “traumatised” by the incident, while the whole Jewish community was feeling “deeply concerned”.
The Met said the assault happened in Manor Road at around 6.30pm.
The attack was condemned by shadow justice secretary David Lammy, who said on Twitter: “This hateful attack on a pregnant Jewish woman in Stamford Hill is absolutely gruesome.
“As a society, we have to do so much more to tackle anti-Semitism as well as violence against women.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews said: “We are extremely disturbed by the vile attack on a pregnant Jewish woman in Stamford Hill.
“We hope that the perpetrator is swiftly caught and faces justice.
“The attacker’s face was caught on video and we urge anyone who may be aware of his identity to contact the police.”
Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 quoting reference Cad 6517/18Mar.