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Israel-Hamas war: Chanting jihad on UK streets 'completely reprehensible', says minister - as he confirms terror arrests made

Terror arrests have been made in the UK since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, the immigration minister has said.

Speaking to Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips on Sky News, Robert Jenrick also said the chanting of jihad on the streets during yesterday's protests London was "completely reprehensible", adding the government wanted to make sure the police did "everything that they can to protect British Jews".

However, he said it was up to the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service whether to press charges.

Politics latest: Terror arrests made in UK since start of Israel-Hamas war

Thousands of protesters marched in London on Saturday in a show of solidarity for Palestine and to demand an immediate end to Israel's bombardment of Gaza following the attack on Israel by Hamas on 7 October.

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The Metropolitan Police said there had been "pockets of disorder and some instances of hate speech" during the demonstration.

People were heard chanting "from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free" - despite controversy over the meaning of the slogan.

But the Met said the majority of activity had been "lawful and taken place without incident".

The force said no offence was committed when a man was filmed chanting "jihad, jihad" at a protest in London.

"However, recognising the way language like this will be interpreted by the public and the divisive impact it will have, officers identified the man involved and spoke to him to discourage any repeat of similar chanting," a spokesperson added.

Asked about arrests being made, Mr Jenrick said: "Chanting jihad on the streets of London is completely reprehensible and I never want to see scenes like that. It is inciting terrorist violence and it needs to be tackled with the full force of the law.

"Ultimately, it's an operational matter for the police and the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) whether to press charges."

He added: "There have been arrests under terrorist legislation. And we want to do everything that we can to protect British Jews.

"But this is a broader question beyond just legality, it also is a question about values. And there should be a consensus in this country that chanting things like jihad is completely reprehensible and wrong and we don't ever want to see that in our country."

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The Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot, told Trevor Phillips he was at yesterday's march and condemned anyone trying to intimidate Jewish people by celebrating the Hamas attacks.

"Not only am I dismayed [by those actions], this is abhorrent, unacceptable," he said. "Those people hijack our cause for their own twisted logic.

"The Jewish people have nothing to do with it. This is not a religious conflict. Many of those who demonstrated for Palestine yesterday were Jews. Many of those strong voices are Jewish people defending us.

"And those who have hate in their hearts for Jews would have hate in their hearts for Muslims and Christians. We have nothing to do with them and they should shut up."

As immigration minister, Mr Jenrick was also asked about the possibility of establishing a scheme for taking Palestinian refugees, but he said the priority was getting British nationals out of Gaza.

When pressed over whether there might be a specific scheme, he said: "At the moment, the priority is simply to get the British nationals out of Gaza and to ensure there is as much humanitarian relief there. That's the first step.

"It's quite a long way ahead before we could reach the point where we might be able to see more people leaving Gaza. At the moment Egypt, for example, is not willing to admit refugees, and we understand the reasons behind that."