Headstones vandalized at Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia

Feb 26 (Reuters) - About 100 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia have been knocked over, police said on Sunday, in the latest apparent vandalism incident at a Jewish burial ground in the United States.

A Mount Carmel Cemetery visitor called police on Sunday morning to say the gravestones of three of his relatives had been toppled, police said in a statement. Officers found about 100 others knocked down. The incident apparently took place after dark on Saturday, police said.

ABC television affiliate WPVI said the damage was widespread and footage showed rows of headstones knocked down.

RELATED: Philadelphia Jewish cemetery vandalized

16 PHOTOS
Pennsylvania Jewish cemetery vandalized
See Gallery
Pennsylvania Jewish cemetery vandalized
Melanie Steinhardt comforts Becca Richman at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at fallen tombstones at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Rabbis Shawn Zevit (L) and Adam Zeff speak at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A man looks at fallen tombstones at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Rabbi Adam Zeff walks through tombstones at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Vandalized tombstones are seen at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Max Shandler walks through tombstones at the Jewish Mount Carmel Cemetery, February 26, 2017, in Philadelphia, PA. Police say more than 100 tombstones were vandalized a week after a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis was desecrated. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"I'm hoping it was maybe just some drunk kids. But the fact that there's so many, it leads one to think it could have been targeted," cemetery visitor Andrew Mallin, who had come to see his father's grave, told the station.

The Anti-Defamation League, a watchdog group that monitors hate groups, is offering a $10,000 reward in the case, supported by the Mizel Family Foundation, police said.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Twitter: "#Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecration is shocking and a source of worry. Full confidence #US authorities catch and punish culprits."

SEE ALSO: Vice President Pence joins cleanup at vandalized Jewish cemetery

The apparent vandalism came about a week after about 170 headstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis. Jewish community centers across the United States have also reported a surge in bomb threats, but all were hoaxes.

Muslim Americans have helped raise about $131,000 to repair the St. Louis cemetery, far exceeding organizers' $20,000 goal, according to their LaunchGood website.

Some Jewish groups have described the vandalism and threats as the latest evidence that Donald Trump's election as U.S. president had emboldened anti-Semitic groups. His campaign last year drew the support of white nationalists and right-wing groups, despite his disavowals of them.

RELATED: US Jewish centers receiving bomb threats

11 PHOTOS
US Jewish centers receiving bomb threats
See Gallery
US Jewish centers receiving bomb threats
Update: @MiamiBeachPD has cleared the scene, no threat located. #Traffic has now reopened as well as the JCC. https://t.co/bvXp1244Xt
UPDATE: Police give all clear after bomb threat at Jewish Community Center in Newton https://t.co/yRPOdS3D08 https://t.co/Wep7Y5wOE5
And here's a seventh bomb threat against a Jewish community center today: Tenafly, New Jersey. https://t.co/Au9JI7pgfc
A Jewish center in #Orlando was evacuated for the 2nd time in 24 hours over a phoned-in threat… https://t.co/CAvk9BWAB3
Bomb Threat Forces Evacuation of St. Louis Jewish Community Center https://t.co/JbIUx2Q6FY
UPDATE: Bomb threat reported against Jewish center in Scotch Plains, New Jersey https://t.co/zbcIZswPae
JUST IN: Jewish Community Center of Metro Detroit evacuated after bomb threat. Police searching building now.
Report of suspicious package at Maitland Jewish Community Center https://t.co/1i16oVNpMe
Maitland Police say bomb threat came in at about 10 a.m. Voice described as 'robotic' said explosive was in Pre-K area of Maitland JCC.
#BREAKING: Miami Beach Police respond to bomb threat made at MB JCC; Building has since been evacuated https://t.co/V7IA3LScfZ
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Trump delivered his first public condemnation of anti-Semitic incidents on Tuesday. The threats are "horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil," he said.

Some Jewish organizations have criticized his approach. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York called his comments "a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti-Semitism that has infected his own administration."

Jewish groups had also criticized the White House for omitting any mention of Jews in its statement marking Holocaust Memorial Day last month.

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.