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Police Investigating Shots Fired Overnight at 2 Jewish Schools in Montreal

Montreal police are investigating after shots were fired at two Jewish schools.

Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) spokesperson, Jean-Pierre Brabant, said police received two 911 calls, one at around 8:20 a.m., and the second just before 8:50 a.m.

In both cases, the callers reported the schools’ front doors had been struck by bullets, but police cannot yet confirm if there is a link between the incidents, he said.

It is not clear when the shots were fired.

One of the schools, Talmud Torah Elementary School, is located on Saint-Kevin Avenue in the city’s Côte-des-Neiges neighbourhood.

At least one bullet casing was found at the scene, according to Brabant. 

The other, Yeshiva Gedola of Montreal, is located on Deacon Road, also in Côte-des-Neiges.

Brabant said both schools were empty at the time of the shooting and nobody was injured.

David Oliel, an adult who studies at Yeshiva Gedola, says the incident will not deter him from openly observing his faith. 

“I’m going to keep wearing my kippah proud and not be afraid to live in my home, where I was born,” he said, adding that people have the right to protest against the actions of the Israeli government but not to target Jewish people in the city with violence.

The shots fired come at a time of rising tensions in Montreal related to the ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Israelis in the Middle East.

Earlier this week, Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue in the Montreal suburb of Dollard-des-Ormeaux. Yesterday, a fight broke out at Concordia University resulting in several injuries and one arrest. 

“The Jewish community, with close to 300 years of history in Quebec, is under attack, and antisemitism is not a problem that the Jews can solve,” Yair Szlak, president and CEO of Federation CJA — a Jewish advocacy organization — told reporters Thursday.

Speaking at a news event, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante appealed for calm. At the same time, she said she wants to make it clear that there will be consequences for violent and hateful acts. 

“You will answer for your actions,” said Plante. 

“When I talk to people in the streets, in shops, what people want is peace, so we can’t leave room for people who want to respond with violent actions.”

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Anthony Housefather, MP for the riding of Mount Royal — where Talmud Torah is located — said more security had been added. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also weighed in on the recent incidents in Montreal.

“For me, violence and hate, antisemitism and scenes such as the ones that we saw at Concordia University or shots fired at Jewish Schools overnight, all of that is unacceptable, and it’s also not who we are,” said Trudeau.

Quebec Premier François Legault told reporters at the same news conference that what happened to the two schools cannot be tolerated.

Public Security Minister François Bonnardel told CBC he is concerned by the shots fired as well as the violence at Concordia University yesterday. 

“The SPVM is taking the situation seriously,” he said, adding that families must continue sending their children to schools.

Between Oct. 7 and Nov.7, Montreal police have tallied 73 reported hate crimes and hate incidents against the Jewish community and 25 against the Arab-Muslim community. 

Last year, Montreal police tallied 72 hate crimes and incidents against all groups for the entirety of 2022.

Source : CBC