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Police hunt firebomb attackers after coffee bar is set alight

PUBLISHED: 20:40 13 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 05 October 2010

Firebombed Starbucks in Whitechapel this morning

Firebombed Starbucks in Whitechapel this morning

A FIRE bomb was hurled into the premises of a cafe and coffee bar in London’s East End in the early hours of this morning.

The thugs hurled the petrol bomb through the front glass door of Starbuck’s in Whitechapel at 1am. It was one of a series of hate’ incidents in the area believed to be linked to protests over Israel’s operations in Gaza which have included anti-Semitic graffiti

By Mike Brooke

A FIRE bomb was hurled into the premises of a cafe and coffee bar in London’s East End in the early hours of this morning.

It was one of a series of hate’ incidents in Whitechapel which have included anti-Semitic graffiti, believed to be linked to protests over Israel’s operations in Gaza.

The thugs hurled the petrol bomb through the front glass door of Starbucks in Whitechapel Road, 300 yards from Brick Lane, at 1am.

The manager was trapped in the office at the back and saw the intruders smashing their way into the premises on the CCTV and had to stay hidden.

A senior fire brigade officer told the East London Advertiser: “The manager feared for his safety and kept out of sight when the firebomb was hurled.

“Then he managed to get out through the fire escape at the back to raise the alarm.”

The fire damaged the carpet, tables and several glass panels.

But firefighters managed to prevent flames spreading to the rest of the building.

Police forensic experts later sealed off the cafe. The CCTV footage was also being examined in the hunt for the fire-bombers.

No-one was hurt in the attack and there were no customers in the premises which had already closed for the night.

Scotland Yard said one line of inquiry was that it was “racially motivated” following the fighting in Gaza.

Starbucks, whose American chief executive Howard Schultz is Jewish, confirmed the attack in a statement today, saying none of its staff or customers were affected and they we’re co-operating with the investigations.

Just four hours earlier, a gang of youths hurled a brick at a Tesco delivery van half-a-mile away, then attacked the driver as he drove through Canon Street Road. The 45-year-old driver was later treated for a head injury and needed seven stitches.

Cops said the youths were Asian, who were wearing dark tops and may have been seen outside a fast food restaurant earlier.

The new Tesco Metro supermarket in Stepney’s Commercial Road was targeted at the weekend when several windows were smashed and the words kill Jews’ was daubed in paint.

The same slogan was daubed on the wall of a children’s playground on Whitechapel’s Chicksand housing estate last week.


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