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Firebombings not antisemitic, federation says

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The interior of Chops restaurant in Snowdon

MONTREAL — There’s no evidence that the weekend firebombings of two kosher restaurants in Snowdon and a home in Cote St. Luc were motivated by antisemitism, Federation CJA said in a June 9 statement.

“It is easy to assume that these incidents may be antisemitic or hate-inspired events, as some have speculated publicly,” said president David Cape and CEO Deborah Corber in a June 9 statement.

“However, Federation CJA is in constant contact with all levels of law enforcement, and we are assured that there is absolutely no evidence that these incidents – while disturbing, to be sure – are in any way motivated by antisemitism.”

In the early morning of June 7 at 2 a.m., the Café Shalom restaurant on Queen Mary Road near Decarie Boulevard was hit by two “incendiary devices,” according to police constable Danny Richer, causing minor damage from a sprinkler system that was set off by the devices.

One June 8, also after 2 a.m., a device was thrown into a home on Collins Avenue near Cavendish Boulevard in Cote St. Luc, causing little damage, but six people, including two children, were inside.

On June 9 at 12:40 a.m., a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of the upscale Chops restaurant, one block east of Café Shalom. It was the second firebombing a Chops since October 2012, when an attack caused serious water damage.

Two hooded suspects were reportedly seen fleeing the restaurant after this past weekend’s incident, but the device did not ignite. The restaurant still had about 30 customers inside but no injuries were reported.

Subsequent to the attacks, on June 10 the National Post reported that the owner of the home is Tehrani-Cohen, a businessman who reportedly has been involved recently in “a number of legal battles” apparently unrelated to the arson attempts.

In 2010, he also disappeared for 24 hours in an apparently failed kidnapping attempt.

Police said last weekend’s three crimes, while using similar materials, had “different MO’s.”

On June 10, Shalom restaurant owner Sylvain Hazan offered a $20,000 reward leading the arrest of the two individuals seen fleeing the scene.

“I want to get to the bottom of this. I want to get people arrested once and for all,” he told the National Post.

The federation’s statement concluded:

 “Both Federation CJA, through our director of security, and CIJA [the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs] Quebec… maintain superb relations with law enforcement, who keep us aware of developments at every stage of their investigation,” the federation’s statement concluded.

“We will refrain from making any specific pronouncements at this time, as we believe this would only serve to undermine ongoing police investigations and handling of this matter,” it said.

“Please be assured that we will continue to monitor the situation and to keep our community current through updates on our website and Facebook page.”

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