Dozens of headstones damaged at Philadelphia Jewish cemetery

PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Dozens of headstones at a Jewish cemetery in the Wissinoming section of Philadelphia have been broken and overturned.

The Philadelphia police say this was an act of vandalism at the Mt. Carmel Cemetery on the corner of Frankford and Cheltenham avenues.

Aaron Mallin of North Jersey made the disturbing discovery Sunday when he came to visit his father's grave.

"It's just very disheartening that such a thing would take place," Mallin said.

"I've never seen anything like this. This has got to be deliberate," said

It's a historic Jewish cemetery. Some of the headstones - well over 100 years old - were split in half.

It's an egregious act of vandalism that's deeply sadden those who have family buried here.

"Why that's the only thing you could say there's really no reason for it to be done," said Aaron Mallin of North Jersey.

Philadelphia police detectives were on the scene Sunday investigating.

One woman who came to check on her family stones say this could only be one thing.

"This is what looks like a systematic destruction has got to be antisemitism I can't think of anything else," she said.

Though some others were holding onto hope it's not a targeted attack.

"I'm hoping it was maybe just some drunk kids. But the fact that there's so many, it leads one to think it could have been targeted," Mallin said.

The damage is widespread, but it's hard to get an exact count on just how many tombstones were knocked down or even when.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon released a statement on Twitter saying, "#Philadelphia Jewish cemetery desecration is shocking and a source of worry . Full confidence #US authorities catch and punish culprits."

The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia tells Action News they will be opening a mailbox at later Sunday to begin raising money to help speed up the repairs of the cemetery.

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