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Metropolitan Police remove kidnapped hostage posters in London

Criticism arises as public awareness campaign sparks tensions

Source: BBC

A relative of an Israeli man who is among at least 230 hostages abducted by Hamas has criticized the Metropolitan Police for removing posters calling for their release.

The hostages were taken during the 7 October attacks in which at least 1,400 Israelis were killed.

"Kidnapped" posters have been put up across London to raise public awareness.

The Met said the posters were removed in Edgware to "avoid any further increase in community tension".

A spokesperson for the force said the posters were put up late on Saturday. The force received two calls from residents about the posters being put on a business's shutters.

"They believed the posters were put on these specific shutters as a retaliation for comments about the conflict between Israel and Hamas that were made on social media by a person associated with the business," the spokesperson said.

"It appears printouts of those comments may also have been put up next to the posters."

The spokesperson said those who reported the posters feared they would "escalate an already tense situation".

There have been several incidents of people tearing down the posters.

Adam Ma'anit, whose cousin Tsachi Idan was abducted by Hamas militants on 7 October after they shot and killed his 18-year-old daughter, says he feels a "wave of despair" when the posters are torn down.

"Seeing police doing it, whatever the context, just made me feel even worse. There is no hate on those posters, they are just being used to highlight the plight of the hostages as the news cycle has long moved past the atrocities of October 7," he said.

Six members of the Idan family sit together on a sofa
Image caption,
The Idan family - Maayan, centre, was killed in the attack and her father, Tsachi sitting far right, was abducted
The Met spokesperson said the force did not wish to limit the rights of anyone to raise awareness of those kidnapped but "we do have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to stop issues escalating".

Mr Ma'anit said those who tear down the posters were "silencing" those attempting raise awareness about the hostages.

"For the police to be party to that is deeply distressing," he added. "Even if there was a legitimate reason to take them down, it's not the job of the police to do that."

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