BORIS Johnson has suggested the Met Police is being “politicised” after condemning the force for helping an investigation into alleged war crimes by Israel and Palestine.

Scotland Yard counter-terrorism police have launched an appeal for witnesses travelling through British airports to report allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The inquiry is supporting a long-running investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into Israel.

The probe is also set to examine events since the Hamas attacks of October 7 and look into allegations of war crimes by Palestinian factions.

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On the back of this, former prime minister Johnson told the Telegraph he was concerned about the “worrying politicisation of the Met Police” which he claimed should concern itself with domestic issues.

He said: “This sounds like a worrying politicisation of the Met Police – especially after Met officers were seen tearing down posters of Israeli hostages in Gaza.”

In October, two officers were pictured removing posters calling for the release of Israeli hostages. Scotland Yard said they had been acting to defuse local tensions.

Johnson, who has stated his opposition to the ICC investigation, added: “When I was mayor of London I made it clear that we would not import foreign wars or disputes onto the streets of London. The Met would be better off fighting knife crime in the capital.”

Scotland Yard said British police had a “responsibility to support” the ICC and that with “higher volumes” of British nationals returning to the UK since the war broke out, it is expected a greater number of potential witnesses and victims of war crimes will be arriving from the region.

Fears of the conflict worsening in the Middle East were sparked on Wednesday when at least 95 people in Iran were killed in a bombing at the grave of Iran’s former top commander Qassem Soleimani.

This came less than 24 hours after the assassination of Hamas’s deputy political leader in a Beirut drone strike.

Posters produced by counter-terror police have been seen at Heathrow and are understood to have been displayed at several other airports.

They are headlined “Travellers who have been in Israel/Palestinian Territories” and add below: “If you have been in Israel/Palestinian Territories and have witnessed or been a victim of terrorism, war crimes or crimes against humanity, then you can report this to the UK police.”

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The poster says: “UK policing is supporting the work of the International Criminal Court, which is investigating alleged war crimes in Israel and Palestine from June 2014 onwards.”

On Wednesday night, Scotland Yard confirmed its war crimes team had received more than 40 referrals “in recent weeks”, including from individuals returning from the region.

It is thought the vast majority are allegations of war crimes against Israel – which is not signed up to the ICC and does not recognise its jurisdiction.

In December, Karim Khan KC, the ICC’s current chief prosecutor, visited the region following the October 7 attacks, in which 1200 civilians were killed.

On his visit, Khan condemned the attack on Israel as “one of the most serious international crimes” but also warned Israel that its response needed to be proportionate to comply with international law.

Israeli strikes on Gaza have claimed the lives of at least 20,000 Palestinians, many of them women and children.

In a statement, the Met Police said: “As the UK’s investigative authority for war crimes, counter-terrorism policing – through the Met’s war crimes team – has a responsibility to support ICC investigations. The ICC opened an investigation in 2019 into alleged war crimes in Israel and Palestine.”

The spokesman added that “under the terms of the 1998 Rome Statute, our war crimes team is obliged to support any investigations opened by the ICC that could involve British subjects” and said the posters were put up to meet that obligation.