Belfast synagogue
The windows of the Belfast synagogue were attacked over the weekendbelfastjewishcommunity

Windows have been smashed windows at a synagogue in Belfast in what police are treating as a religious hate crime.

Police said windows were smashed on two separate occasions over the weekend at the synagogue on Somerton Road, north Belfast.

The first window was believed to have been smashed on Friday evening (18 July) and the replacement was broken the following day.

It is feared the attacks may have been a response to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are appealing for anyone who may have witnessed the attack to contact them via the non-emergency 101 number.

The attack has been condemned by politicians as well as the Jewish community. Rabbi David Singer said it is "very sad and disturbing" that local Belfast residents would act in this way.

He added: "I would imagine that there's a certain amount of anger that it could happen, but angry in the sense of frustration, not angry in the sense that they'd want to do anything about it."

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt said it was "totally unacceptable" that the Jewish temple would be targeted in such a way.

"The Jewish community have been valuable members of our society for many years," he said.

"We offered refuge during the Second World War to many fleeing the Holocaust and it is abhorrent that the synagogue has been the target of this hate crime."

The DUP's North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds described the attacks as "disgraceful and despicable".

"Those who have such hatred in their hearts to carry out this attack must be condemned. The Jewish community are a long established part of Belfast and have a rich history in the city. I trust the police will be able to apprehend those responsible for this latest act of hatred," he added.