Four teenagers have pleaded guilty to racially aggravated assault against a Jewish man in the north-east after they decided to go “Jew-bashing” during last summer’s Gaza conflict.

Balawal Sultan, Kesa Malik, Hassnain Aliamin and a 16-year old drove to Gateshead in Tyneside, where there is a large yeshiva, or Jewish seminary. 

The gang of four lay in wait behind a van before jumping out on a 41-year old man as he walked home. They chased the victim down the street, throwing a piece of wood at him. When he fell, a witness told how one of the gang went to kick the victim in the head when a friend heard the commotion and came to his aid.

“This was a frightening racist attack on an innocent man solely because he was Jewish,” said a spokesman for the Community Security Trust (CST).

“There is no excuse and we are pleased that the perpetrators of this anti-Semitic assault have been brought to justice. We hope that the conclusion of the trial will help the victim to move on from what was clearly a traumatic experience.”

When they were later arrested, the attackers claimed they were only in the area looking for a new mosque, but one of them admitted the planned attack was motivated by the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians.

At Newcastle Crown Court, the Orthodox victim said he had “never experienced fear and terror like it”. He added: “I have no doubt I was attacked for being Jewish. I was targeted because of my religion and I’m now scared to walk past members of the Asian community with whom otherwise I have no problem.”

The defendants pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at a later date.