Boy, 9, in Hasidic Jewish clothing beaten in apparent unprovoked attack in Brooklyn

A 9-year-old boy dressed in Hasidic Jewish clothing was beaten in an apparently unprovoked attack in Brooklyn on Sunday night, and police are now investigating the assault as a hate crime.

NYPD said the boy was walking home in Williamsburg when a man – described as a black teenager – approached him and repeatedly punched him in the face.

The suspect, who fled the scene, reportedly did not say a word to the victim during the attack.

The boy refused medical attention at the scene and is expected to be OK, police said.

Police released a surveillance video of the suspect.

The suspect was described as a male, between the ages of 14 to 18. He was approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall and was last seen wearing a gray hoodie with a black patch on the sleeve.

The incident follows several similar anti-Semitic attacks around New York City in the last several months.

In October, a teenager was arrested for viciously attacking a Jewish man in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights less than an hour after he was released from police custody for an unrelated shoplifting incident.

Days earlier, a New York City cab driver was caught on video beating a Jewish man in the middle of an intersection. The victim, Lipa Schwartz, reportedly told local officials the alleged attacker yelled the words “Allah” and “Israel” while pummeling him.

Earlier this month, 26-year-old James Polite was arrested for allegedly vandalizing a historic New York City synagogue with anti-Semitic graffiti just days after the deadly mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.

On Wednesday, a Jewish professor and Holocaust scholar at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in New York said two swastikas and an anti-Semitic slur were spray-painted on the walls outside her office.

“I was in shock,” Elizabeth Midlarsky, professor of psychology and education, told the Columbia Daily Spector. “I stopped for a moment because I couldn’t believe was I was seeing.”

According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 1,986 anti-Semitic incidents in the U.S. in 2017, up from 1,267 in 2016 across the United States.

Jews make up only about 2 percent of the U.S. population, but in annual FBI data, they repeatedly account for more than half of the Americans targeted by hate crimes committed due to religious bias.

In New York, police have seen a notable uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes with 159 being reported as of Nov. 4. It is up from 130 in 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.