A Jewish school in Montreal was once again the target of gunfire early morning Sunday in what authorities say is the latest in a string of hateful acts targeting the community in one week in connection with the war between Israel and Hamas.
Police say 911 calls were made around 5 a.m. for gunshots heard near Yeshiva Gedola school in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood. Officers say they found bullet holes and casings at the school on Deacon Road near the Van Horne Avenue intersection when they arrived at the scene.
Witnesses told officers a vehicle was seen leaving the scene after shots were heard.
Montreal police spokesperson Caroline Chèvrefils told Global News no one was inside the building at the time of the incident and no injuries were reported.
The investigation has been transferred to the SPVM’s hate crimes unit.
This is the second time Yeshiva Gedola has been the target of gunfire in just a few days. On Thursday police reported overnight gunshots fired at the school and at United Talmud Torah school, also in the city’s Côte-des-Neiges area.
Concerns mounting after 2 Jewish schools hit by gunfire in Montreal
Earlier this week a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a synagogue in Dollard-des-Ormeaux and into an office belonging to Jewish advocacy group Federation CJA.
None of these incidents caused any injuries and no arrests have been made.
Politicians, community groups condemn repeated ‘abhorrent acts of hatred’
In a statement Sunday, Premier François Legault said that his heart was with the Jewish community and that all efforts will be made to “punish the culprits.”
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante called the incidents “abhorrent acts” that Montreal can’t accept. “All Montrealers have the right to feel safe.”
“Nobody will say that it’s okay to shoot an elementary school to pass a message,” she told reporters outside the school Sunday morning. “This is not the city that we believe in, with the values that we believe in and respect.”
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Jewish community group B’nai Brith Canada said it was “deeply disturbed by this repeated act of hatred.”
Michael Mostyn, executive director of B’nai Brith Canada, called the events “mind-boggling” and an example of rising antisemitism across the country. “How in the world can this be going on in a civilized country?”
“We certainly hope that the Montreal police can get to the bottom of this and ensure the safety of the Jewish community,” he said.
Federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marc Miller said the incident was “another violent and cowardly act against a Jewish school in Montreal.” Fellow Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said antisemitic acts “cannot be allowed to become the new normal.”
In reaction to the previous incidents this week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was horrified to learn of the shootings. He urged Canadians to denounce violent antisemitism in the strongest terms and called for calm.
“This hate doesn’t have its place here in Montreal, or anywhere in Quebec or anywhere in Canada,” Trudeau told reporters during a news conference Thursday morning.
Canadians need to “remind ourselves who we are,” he added. “I know that emotions are strong. People are scared and in mourning. But for Canadians to attack each other, it’s not what we do.”
–with files from Kalina Laframboise, Global News