HOME Secretary Suella Braverman has said the hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets in support of Palestine were taking part in “hate marches”.

She urged officers to take a “zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism” after attending an emergency Cobra meeting chaired by Rishi Sunak on Monday.

The Prime Minister told police and the security agencies to conduct tabletop exercises simulating responses to counter-terror or public order scenarios, a Downing Street source said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley warned on Sunday that terrorism is being “accelerated” by events in the Middle East, as he raised concerns about “state threats from Iran”.

Speaking after the Cobra meeting in Whitehall, Braverman agreed with the view of the UK’s most senior officer but indicated the terror threat level was not being hiked yet.

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She told broadcasters that the Joint Threat Assessment Centre that determines the level “has maintained its assessment to date”.

But she struck out at the marches that have been taking place across the UK in support of the Palestinian people as Gaza is besieged by Israel and coming under aerial bombardment.

“We’ve seen now tens of thousands of people take to the streets following the massacre of Jewish people, the single largest loss of Jewish life since the Holocaust, chanting for the erasure of Israel from the map,” she said.

“To my mind there is only one way to describe those marches: They are hate marches.”

She said police are concerned there are a “large number of bad actors who are deliberately operating beneath the criminal threshold in a way which you or I or the vast majority of the British people would consider to be utterly odious”.

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Rowley has previously suggested the laws may need to be redrawn so that officers have greater powers to tackle chants deemed to be extremist.

But Braverman said: “If there is a need to change the law … I would not hesitate to act”.

She urged police to take a “zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism” but said decisions on the ground are for officers to take when asked about the “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” chant.

Braverman has previously branded the chant as antisemitic, while Downing Street went less far on Monday to say it is “a deeply offensive chant to many”.

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The phrase to some is a call of support for the Palestinian people, but others interpret it is a demand for the dismantling of Israel.

Thousands more have taken part in protests in other cities in the UK, including in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Belfast.

Israeli troops and tanks pushed deeper into northern and central Gaza on Monday, as Tel Aviv expanded its ground offensive after pounding the territory with air strikes.

The death toll among Palestinians has passed 8000, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.