Police are investigating a possible hate crime after arresting two girls, 13 and 14, on suspicion of the robbery of a Jewish woman in north London.
A 20-year-old woman, who is from the Orthodox Jewish community, was assaulted and had her handbag stolen in Stamford Hill on Thursday.
DS Asli Benson of the Metropolitan police, who has led the investigation, said the incident was being treated as a possible hate crime although all avenues would be explored.
Benson said: “This was a terrifying incident for the young woman who was attacked. We will continue to ensure she has the right support.
“The victim is from the Orthodox Jewish community. It would have been obvious from her appearance that she was Jewish and there has been significant concern that she was targeted for that reason.
“In the current climate, when fears and uncertainty in the wider Jewish community are heightened following the terror attacks in Israel and the subsequent rise in antisemitic hate crime here in London, these concerns are entirely understandable.”
The Met said the victim had suffered bruising, for which she did not require hospital treatment. She was emotionally shaken by the incident, which occurred on Rostrevor Avenue at about 4.30pm.
Police carried out extensive inquiries to identify the suspects, and used CCTV images to establish that the perpetrators were wearing school uniforms. Detectives worked with schools in Haringey and neighbouring boroughs to identify the girls, and received information from members of the public.
At about midday on 10 December, officers went to an address in Haringey where they arrested two girls aged 13 and 14 on suspicion of robbery. They remain in custody.
The Stamford Hill neighbourhood has the largest concentration of Hassidic Jews in Europe. Last month, the Met reported that hate crimes against Jewish people had soared by 1,350% since the Middle East crisis erupted.
Officers continue to appeal for anyone with information about the incident to call 101 providing the reference CAD 5505/07Dec. Information can also be shared with the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, by calling 0800 555 111.