A TURKISH community centre fire-bombed three times during a wave of violence a decade ago has been targeted once again by arsonists.

A gang set fire to a 12-foot flag hanging from the top window of the Turkish Islamic Centre in Green Lanes, Stoke Newington.

A bystander who tried to intervene during the attack last Wednesday night was beaten up by the gang.

Neighbours have expressed fears they could be caught in the crossfire if violence erupts again.

A neighbour, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said: “This is really bad news and I fear there will be more trouble.

I have lived here 30 years and the place has been petrol-bombed three times. There has been an armed siege and a riot.

“Whenever there is trouble, it’s there and it’s very disconcerting when you live nearby.”

Neighbours called police when they saw the gang setting light to the Turkish national flag at 11.30pm.

Firefighters from Stoke Newington and Homerton saved the building from serious damage. Paramedics took the bystander to hospital with minor head injuries as the gang fled down Winston Road. Police officers searched the area. They have made no arrests.

The Turkish Islamic Centre was fire-bombed three times by suspected rival Turkish groups in the mid-1990s.

Cops believed the attacks were carried out by the PKK, the communist wing of the Kurdish movement.

A wave of fire-bombings in shops and businesses across Hackney sparked fears rival factions were settling old scores.

The community centre has stood empty for much of the time since 2001, but neighbours say people have returned in recent months.

Since the arson attack, police officers have visited Turkish businesses to address their concerns.

“All parties involved have been extremely compliant and we are subsequently in the process of arranging a community meeting to address any outstanding issues,” said a Hackney police spokeswoman.

Taylan Sahbaz, the co-ordinator of the Day-Mer Turkish and Kurdish community centre in Howard Road, Stoke Newington, said he did not think the violence would escalate.

He said: “It’s an isolated incident and I don’t think it is representative of the community as a whole.

“I don’t think there are problems coming from the Turkish and Kurdish communities and we work towards community cohesion.”

A Hackney Council spokeswoman said: “The council has been working closely with the police in this criminal matter.”

Anyone with information should call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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