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Montreal Jewish institutions, places of worship on heightened alert amid threat of protests


Jewish institutions and communities in Montreal are on heightened alert after a former Hamas leader reportedly called for a global day of protest Friday targeting the community.

Montreal's Jewish General Hospital is telling staff to postpone all non-essential out-patient appointments on Friday in response to the broader global threat.

"We will encourage all non-essential work to be postponed or done from home. Access to the indoor parking will be closed to patients," the hospital told staff in a memo obtained by CTV News.

The hospital's operating room will remain open, according to the memo, which said there is no known specific threat against the hospital.

"We wish to diminish risk to the greatest number of people, while not penalizing patients who need care scheduled for Friday. We also do not wish to create panic when there is no specific threat against our institution at present, but it's imperative that we exercise caution."

Reuters reported that former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal called for pro-Palestinian protests across the Muslim world to join the fight against Israel. The Jewish state launched retaliatory attacks in Gaza in response to Hamas' deadly air, ground, and sea assault on Israel on Saturday. 

The fighting has resulted in at least 2,800 deaths on both sides of the conflict. 

Recent posts on social media have been promoting a pro-Palestine protest Friday afternoon in downtown Montreal. 

Montreal police (SPVM) said Thursday it has “no information to indicate that violent or threatening acts are imminent in Montreal.”

Still, it is implementing "a visibility plan" near places of worship and other locations connected to the Israel-Hamas war. 

"At present, there has been no significant increase in the number of complaints or incidents reported to us as a result of events linked to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," the police said in an emailed statement.

SPVM Chief Fady Dagher stressed that police are monitoring the situation closely.

"My meetings with the leaders of Montreal's Jewish and Muslim communities have reassured me of their intention to express their opinions freely and respectfully, in the image of an open and inclusive city like ours," he said in a statement.

The CIUSSS West-Central Montreal issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying there will be an increased security presence around its locations.

A spokesperson for the Montreal borough of Outremont, which is home to a large Jewish population, told CTV News that security would be enhanced around places of worship amid the ongoing conflict. 

Federation CJA, an organization that represents Jewish organizations in Montreal, also said in a notice on Wednesday to its members that it is not aware of a specific threat against the community, but is asking them to be vigilant.

It said it will increase security presence at daycares, Jewish schools and synagogues Friday "out of an abundance of precaution."

Meantime, Mayor Valerie Plante called on Montrealers to lead with peace.

"We need to put in perspective at this point that we should be mourning, we should be walking and asking for peace," she said at a Thursday press conference.

"It's so important that we stay strong together and hopefully Montrealers can resist together this hatred that is happening at the other side of the world."


Friday, federal, provincial and territorial public safety ministers issued a joint statement emphasizing that the Government of Canada considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization and condemns its actions.

"Canadians have the right to feel safe to practise their faith and express their beliefs," the statement reads. "There is no place for supporting terrorism or advocating for violence in Canada."

It adds police forces in several Canadian cities are monitoring the call to action from the former chief of Hamas, an organization declared as a terrorist organization by Canada.

"Our law enforcement and security partners remain vigilant in the face of these potential disruptions and are monitoring the situation closely to ensure the safety of all Canadian citizens," the statement reads. 

In Toronto, police in that city said they are investigating a hate crime after three male suspects made unspecified threats while attending a Hebrew school on Thursday. The suspects were arrested but have not been charged.

Quebec Public Safety Minister warned that police patrols will be on the ground to ensure demonstrations are "law-abiding."

"Regarding demonstrations in Quebec, we must remember that the right to demonstrate is a fundamental right for all Quebecers. Now, there's a fine line between demonstrating and inciting hatred, which contravenes the Criminal Code," he said in a series of posts on social media. Top Stories

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