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Britain’s Jews warned they may be next targets of neo-Nazi attack

LONDON, April 27 (JTA) — Britain’s Jewish community has gone on a state of high alert following two bombings, apparently by a neo-Nazi group, in ethnic areas of London on consecutive Saturday afternoons. The alert, issued to Jewish organizations last Monday by the Jewish Community Security Trust, followed widespread speculation that the bombers would aim next at a Jewish target. In a message to Jewish organizations, the trust — which provides a low-profile defense of the community — said it was “extremely concerned that the Jewish community may be a potential target.” It urged the 350,000-strong community to be “extra vigilant during this potentially volatile period.” The first bomb, which was placed in a busy shopping area of the predominantly black London district of Brixton, left 39 people injured, 14 seriously. The second, last Saturday, was placed in the market street of Brick Lane, a mostly Bangladeshi area of the East End. Seven people were injured in that attack. The police are now convinced that the bombings are racially motivated and the commissioner of London’s Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Condon, said he had “very serious fears” that there will be “a continuing series of vicious attacks.” Speaking in Parliament this week, British Home Secretary Jack Straw deplored the “pernicious” bombings and promised that the perpetrators would be apprehended. “Any attack on these communities is an attack on all British people and on all British society,” Straw said. Police believe the bombings were conducted by Combat-18, a small, violent organization that broke with the far-right National Front, now virtually defunct, in the mid-1980s. Combat-18 — the first and eighth letter of the alphabet corresponding to Hitler’s initials — has claimed responsibility for the bombings in calls to police. Another leading suspect is a Combat-18 splinter group, the White Wolves, which is thought to consider Combat-18 too soft. The White Wolves have warned Jews, as well as black and Asian immigrants, to leave Britain by the end of the year or face extermination. A 15-page document produced by the White Wolves provides its members with details of a strategy for provoking racial conflict: “Our main line of attack must be the immigrants themselves,” said the document. It instructed its followers to conduct the attacks “regularly, effectively and brutally.” Community Security Trust Director Mike Whine said it was logical to anticipate that, after attacks on the black and Asian communities, the next attack would be directed against a Jewish group. He said it is likely the terrorist group responsible for the attacks has fewer than a dozen members and is therefore difficult to penetrate.