Bomb rocks Jewish center in Montreal

No one injured; police yet to determine whether explosion was a hate crime.

A homemade bomb exploded outside a Jewish community center in Montreal in the middle of Passover week, injuring no one and causing little damage, police said Wednesday. Workers at the Ben Weider Jewish Community Center reported hearing an explosion late Tuesday night. "A homemade bomb exploded and there was a small fire," police spokesman Lynne Labelle said. Labelle said they have not determined whether it was a hate crime. Police are reviewing footage from the community center's security cameras. With the explosion coming two days before the third anniversary of the firebombing of Montreal's United Talmud Torahs elementary school library, many in the Jewish community are concerned. Steven Slimovitch, national legal counsel for B'nai Brith Canada, is calling the incident a hate crime although he acknowledges there is no evidence yet to support that belief. "We're certain that it is a crime that has all the earmarks of a hate crime," Slimovitch said. "It is an explosive device that was left at a visibly identifiable Jewish institution, during a well-known Jewish holiday, roughly three years to the day after the bombing of the United Talmud Torahs." Jewish institutions around the city put several security measures in place after the United Talmud Torahs was torched in April 2004. Three people were eventually arrested. Security measures were further heightened last fall when another Hasidic school was firebombed. In its annual audit of anti-Semitism, B'nai Brith identified a 70 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents last year in Quebec and a 12.8 percent rise in Canada.