Jewish community representatives have expressed “outrage” after 13 Jewish headstones were smashed up on Friday at a municipal cemetery in West Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Police investigations are ongoing, after officers were called to the scene, where they found smashed glass alongside overturned headstones.

Board of Deputies’ vice-president Marie van der Zyl expressed her “outrage,” saying: “In addition to damage to gravestones there were several attempts to enter the graves themselves.

“The Board stands with the Belfast Jewish community in the face of such a revolting act of vandalism and disrespect which will cause much distress to families affected as well as to the wider community.

“We support the community’s efforts that Belfast City Council restore and secure the cemetery. We hope that those responsible are arrested swiftly and face the full consequences of their actions.”

Eight young people are said to have carried out the attack with hammers and blocks, with a larger crowd looking on, according to Northern Ireland Assembly member William Humphrey, Belfast Live reported.

Humphrey said he was “disgusted and appalled” at the vandalism, which the police is treating as a hate crime.

This isn’t the first incident of its kind in Belfast. In 2015, a memorial to a Christian Zionist officer was vandalised, and in 2014, windows at a local synagogue were smashed.