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Montreal police investigating after 'Molotov cocktail' thrown at Jewish centre

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Montreal police are investigating after an incendiary object was allegedly thrown against the door of a Jewish community centre early Monday morning, hours after two federal MPs attended a meeting inside the building.

The Jewish Community Council of Montreal said in a statement that its building in the Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood was hit with a Molotov cocktail shortly after midnight. The incident is the latest in a series of attacks against Montreal's Jewish community since the war between Israel and Hamas began in October.

"Thank G-d, no one was present, and minimal damages occurred," wrote Rabbi Saul Emanuel, the council's executive director.

“The rise in antisemitism in our city is frightening, and the repeated violence and attacks on our community are abhorrent and condemned in the strongest terms.”

Liberal MPs Anthony Housefather and Rachel Bendayan said on X — formerly Twitter — that the incident happened hours after they had met at the centre to discuss a federal program that provides funding and other support for communities at risk of hate-motivated crimes.

"The fear is real and we will be there to support the security of the community," Bendayan said.

At 12:15 a.m. on Monday, Housefather posted to X a photo of the meeting at the office of the Jewish Community Council.

Montreal police media relations officer Julien Lévesque said emergency responders were called at about 1 a.m. after an incendiary device was thrown at the door of a building in Côte-des-Neiges. Lévesque says firefighters transferred the investigation to the police's arson squad, adding that no one was injured and there was only minor damage.

Monday's event is the latest in a series of crimes that have left the city's Jewish community on edge since the start of the Israel-Hamas war. Previous incidents in the city include firebombings that caused minor damage at a synagogue and a Jewish organization, as well as gunshots hitting two Jewish school buildings.  

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante promised on Monday that police were working hard to track down the culprits, and reiterated her support for a Jewish community that is "once again plunged into worry."

"Montreal is a city of peace and inclusion," she wrote on X. "It must remain so and we'll make sure of it."

Emanuel said members of the Jewish community have been calling for more funding to increase security in the wake of the deadly Hamas attack on Oct. 7. "We reiterate our belief that more funding is needed," he said Monday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2023.

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