A bus full of Jewish children aged between five and 12 were submitted to the drunken abuse of five teenagers who allegedly hurled anti-Semitic lines abuse at them, including "kill the Jews" and "Heil Hitler," while threatening to slit their throats.
Police confirmed the teens, who were arrested in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday morning, are aged between 15 and 17 and were too drunk to be interviewed, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. They were then released into the custody of their parents without charge and are expected to be interrogated later on Thursday.
Around 30 children from Moriah College, Mt Sinai College and Emmanuel School were on the bus when it stopped to pick up the youths, who were reportedly in school uniforms.
The youths began racially taunting the children on board, saying "kill the Jews," "free Palestine" and "Heil Hitler," while physically threatening others, police allege.
One parent told Australia’s Channel Nine that her 12 year old daughter had called her from the bus sounding clearly distraught, and told of how eight teens were taunting them and threatening to slit the children’s throats.
"I was actually chasing the bus, I was just saying to the kids 'Where are you? Where are you?'" Jacqui Blackburn said, who had three children on the bus.
Police told the Sydney Morning Herald that while none of the children were physically harmed, they were traumatised by the event.
One officer described the event as a “horrific” incident of bullying and intimidation. Police said officers from the Eastern Suburbs local area command in Sydney are investigating the incident.
"While the event is not believed to be targeted, police have confirmed appropriate action will be taken against the alleged offenders once found, and any type of racial abuse, especially where young children are involved, will not be tolerated," police said in a statement.
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Victor Dominello, the Minister for Citizenship and Communities, told the paper he was "deeply disturbed" by the reports and that the "those who are alleged to have subjected school children as young as five to this anti-Semitic attack should face the full force of the law".
"We are lucky to live in one of the most harmonious multicultural societies in the world but we must never be complacent. It is incumbent upon all citizens to expose those whose actions are based on racial hatred and who seek to import overseas conflict onto our streets," he added.