Anti-Semitic graffiti and flyers have defaced shops and walls in Rome's historical Jewish San Giovanni neighbourhood raising fears of a rise in anti-Jewish sentiment in the capital.

Swastika graffiti and posters reading "Anne Frank storyteller" have appeared on Appia Nuova street. Other posters depicting a Palestinian throwing a rock towards an Israeli tank were attached on walls in Cola di Rienzo street, in the leafy Prati neighbourhood. The latter was accompanied with a Celtic cross and the slogan "Each Palestinian is a camerata [the Italian word for members of Mussolini's fascist movement] Same enemy, same barricade".

The Jewish community in Rome is reputed to be the oldest Jewish community in Europe and also one the oldest continuous Jewish settlements in the world. A surge in anti-Semitism following Israel's military operation in Gaza has been condemned by Italy's foreign minister along with France and Germany.

Unlike Paris, where troublemakers clashed with police and attacked kosher stores and synagogues, including several that were firebombed, Italy has not seen any major anti-Jewish incidents so far. However tensions fuelled by conflict in the Middle East erupted in Rome at the beginning of the month.

A Jewish youth beat up a Palestinian supporter, as two opposing demonstrations, one pro-Israel and one against raids in Gaza and the West Bank came close to each other.

The latest act of vandalism has been slammed by Riccardo Pacifici, head of the Rome's Jewish community: "This morning Rome woke up in the worst possible way. Its walls have been defaced by dozens of graffitis praising neo-Nazi hatred towards Jews. From Appia to Prati, from the historic centre to the outskirts, insults and death threats have plastered the shops' shutters.

"Rome cannot become like Paris where Jews are attacked, synagogues surrounded and hanging around with the kippa on the head is a real danger," he said.