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NYPD: Group waving Israeli flags accused of attacking 3 men in possible anti-Palestinian hate crime in Brooklyn

NYPD investigating 2 suspected anti-Palestinian hate crimes in Brooklyn
NYPD investigating 2 suspected anti-Palestinian hate crimes in Brooklyn 02:06

NEW YORK -- The NYPD hate crimes unit is investigating two assaults in Brooklyn that appear to be over the Israel-Hamas war

In one incident, police said suspects riding in three cars were waving Israeli flags and started yelling anti-Palestinian remarks at three men walking on 86th Street near 4th Avenue in Bay Ridge at around 11:30 p.m. 

The men walking yelled something to the effect of "Free Palestine," before the group got out of the cars and punched and kicked one of them, an 18-year-old. 

The suspects reportedly got back in the cars and drove off. 

"These people just were walking down the street peacefully. You can't attack them only because they're Muslim. I mean, come on ... This is ridiculous," said Irina Shavzina, of Bay Ridge. 

The three men, ages 18 to 21, are of Arab or Palestinian descent, police said. They refused medical attention and are expected to be OK. 

It happened hours after a 34-year-old man holding a Palestinian flag was attacked in Williamsburg, police said. 

He was walking on Flushing Avenue near Classon Avenue when a man wearing Jewish clothing snatched the flag from him, tore it up and hit him with the pole that was attached to the flag, police said. 

Police are still looking for suspects in both cases. Police did not immediately provide descriptions of them. 

Anyone with any information is asked to call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip via their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls are kept confidential.    

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