NEWTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Newton police say they’re investigating a hate crime after signs calling for the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas were spray painted.

Officers responding to reports of several defaced lawn signs and damaged personal property on Homer Street in Newton Centre launched a hate crime investigation “due to the underlying crimes specifically targeting the victims of a protected class,” according to a statement from police.

Newton Police Chief Carmichael said, “We denounce such behavior, and our community has no tolerance for such bias and hateful acts. We will investigate the matter fully and seek to prosecute anyone involved.”

The family that set up the mural said they hoped it would keep the hostages in people’s hearts and they’d noticed people stop to look over the images and pray for their safe return.

Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to contact the Newton Police Department.

This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.

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