An arrest was made in connection with the November 2023 shootings directed at Yeshiva Gedola in Montreal

Yeshiva Gedolah in Montreal, where bullets were fired through the front doors twice in November, 2023.

Montreal Police (SPVM) have arrested a man in connection with shots being fired at Yeshiva Gedola elementary school last November.

Abdirazak Mahdi Ahmed, 20, was arrested May 22 and charged with discharging a firearm as well as theft, and receiving stolen vehicles.

On Nov. 12, 2023, shots were fired at the school in the early hours of the morning and a car was seen fleeing the scene. Police found bullet holes through the front doors of the yeshiva and shell casings on the ground.

Four days earlier, on Nov. 9, shots were fired at Yeshiva Gedola and Talmud Torah Azrieli in the early morning.

The shootings occurred during a wave of violent attacks directed at Jewish institutions in Montreal. In early November, Molotov cocktails were thrown at Congregation Beth Tikvah and the West Island office of Federation CJA.

No one was injured in any of the incidents.

Following the attack at the yeshiva, the SPVM increased patrols in the area and were on site at pick up and drop off times.

The investigation is ongoing, “regarding the possible participation of one or more other individuals in this event,” according to a statement from the SPVM. Police are also encouraging the public to come forward with any information tied to the shooting.

Administration at Yeshiva Gedola were pleased to hear an arrest had been made and that police were still actively investigating.

“At a certain point, it felt like it wasn’t on top of their list of investigations. They were on site around the clock to protect the building and they were very involved,” Rabbi Menachem Karmel, principal of the elementary school yeshiva told The CJN.

“But as things quieted down it was out of sight, out of mind. It was nice to know in the last few quiet months, they did not let it go and it’s a good feeling to know that they consider this a priority enough to continue to investigate it. It shows that it was done in everyone’s interest—not just the (Jewish) community.”

Rabbi Karmel said that police have not shared any more details with the school but he praised their efforts to protect the community and ease parents’ and students’ concerns.

“There was a very gradual slowdown in police presence at the school afterward and they communicated with us daily so that we always had a heads up. They weaned off the protection in a very smart way and it didn’t shake anyone up,” he said.

Eta Yudin, Quebec vice-president for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) also applauded the SPVM.

“We thank the SPVM for their work in this investigation and hope that this arrest will make it clear that this type of action is unacceptable in Quebec,” she said in an online post.

“While the escalation of violence and hatred against our community only continues, we are nonetheless pleased that additional charges may be filed against the suspect. This senseless act, this act of terror, must be able to lead to more serious accusations, as we have often repeated since the Hamas attacks. This will send a strong message that targeting a community with such acts is unacceptable. We must remember that some politicians had rightly declared that shooting at schools was a form of terrorism,” Yudin said.

“The safety of Jewish Quebecers is at stake, but also the safety of all Montrealers.”