Members of the Jewish community have been left 'horrified' after anti-Semitic graffiti was daubed on buildings in Shirley.

Nazi swastikas next to the Jewish Star of David were spray painted near the Shirley Baptist Church and on Sainsbury's building among four different places.

Tim Sluckin, secretary of the Southampton Hebrew Congregation, feared the current conflict in Gaza between Muslim Hamas militants and the Israeli armed forces was stoking tensions in Southampton.

Daily Echo: The anti-Jewish vandalism at the back of Sainsburys in ShirleyThe anti-Jewish vandalism at the back of Sainsburys in Shirley (Image: NQ)

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He said: "One fears that something like this could happen, it's of great concern and naturally we're horrified. 

"We're most concerned with the problems in the Middle East and don't want it to spill out onto the streets of Southampton.

"I look on it with horror."

The areas vandalised with the graffiti include a wall behind Sainsbury's in Crown Street, where attempts have been made to scrub the swastika off.

Daily Echo: The graffiti in the Shirley Baptist Church car park

Opposite this is the entrance to the Shirley Baptist Church car park, where another wall has also been marked with the same racist imagery, although it had been painted over.

The other markings - which had also been painted over - were found in two places in Victor Street: one outside the Sainsbury's car park and one opposite Ridding Close.

A Sainsbury's spokesperson said they would remove the graffiti 'as soon as possible and are deeply sorry for any upset this may have caused'.

Daily Echo: The Crown street graffiti has been coveredThe politically-charged vandalism comes after the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas broke out in October.

It was sparked by Hamas killing hundreds of Israeli civilians and taking scores of hostages in an unprecedented attack on the Jewish nation.

In response, Israel launched an offensive to root out Hamas in Gaza, killing thousands of Palestinian civilians in the process.

Daily Echo: The vandalism on Crown Street

This sparked several protests across the UK and in Southampton, several led by the Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Group member Glyn Oliver said of the graffiti: "We denounce it. There's no question, we have no negativity against Jewish people.

"If someone comes up to one of our stalls and says they're anti-Semitic we turn them away. It's a grotesque thing to do.

"We want to promote and preserve solidarity, not negativity.

"We completely condemn the graffiti against Jewish people, as far as we're concerned it's not a Jewish question, it's an Israeli question.

"We're looking for unity; the last thing we want is division."

Hampshire police and Southampton City Council have also commented on the incidents.

A force spokesman confirmed they had received a report of the graffiti on the Sainsbury's building and urged anyone with information to report this on their website or by calling 101, quoting 44230464078.

A city council spokesperson said: "As the graffiti is on private property, it is Sainsbury's responsibility to remove it.

"However, if it is reported to the council and deemed offensive, we will take action."