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Montreal Jewish school target of another shooting in city’s week-long string of hate crimes

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 this week.

Police say 911 calls were made around 5 a.m. for gunshots heard near Yeshiva Gedola school in the city’s Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood. Officers say they found bullet holes in the building and casings on the ground on Deacon Road near the Van Horne Avenue intersection.

Witnesses told officers a vehicle was seen leaving the scene after shots were heard.

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A police officer exits the Yeshiva Gedolah Jewish school after shots were fired at the school in Montreal, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

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.

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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 that same school and at United Talmud Torah school, also in the city’s Côte-des-Neiges area.

Earlier this week a Molotov cocktail was thrown into a synagogue and an office belonging to Jewish advocacy group Federation CJA in the city’s West Island suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

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 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 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 advocacy group B’nai Brith Canada said it was “deeply disturbed by the repeated act of hatred.”

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Michael Mostyn, executive director of the organization, 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.” Fellow Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said antisemitic acts “cannot be allowed to become the new normal.”

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In reaction to the previous events in Montreal 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.

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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

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