A Hasidic man who was severely beaten after leaving a bank in Montreal on Thursday evening is in intensive care in a hospital, local police said Friday, according to the Montreal Gazette.
The attacker, who police said is a white male in his 20s, was outside the bank in the Outremont area of the city at around 7:15 p.m.
When the victim left the bank, he was beaten, choked and had an unknown liquid poured over him, the report said.
A witness who lives in the community, who did not want his name published under the circumstances, says he was in the bank moments before the attack.
He and two friends exited the bank, where they noticed a man sitting on the bench outside the door. He said the man looked to be about 25 years old, and was holding a water bottle in his hands.
The man seemed “cold,” and there was something unsettling about him, the witness said, according to the Montreal Gazette.
The three friends walked by him and were talking near the street corner when they heard a loud crack come from behind them. They turned around and saw the suspect pouring a liquid all over the victim.
Two of the friends chased off the suspect, while the witness stayed with the victim, who was bleeding heavily from the side of his head. He quickly called 911.
“It reeked of gasoline,” the man said. “I’m 100 percent sure, there was no car close by, it’s whatever he poured on him that smelled like gas.”
Samples of the liquid found at the scene will be tested to determine what it is, the police said. They would not confirm whether it was a flammable liquid.
Andre Leclerc of the Montreal police told local radio station CJAD that the motives behind the attack remain a mystery.
“Nothing was stolen so we shall see what was the main reason for this crime,” he said.
Police can't ask the victim whether he knew the man who attacked him until emergency doctors give them the go ahead.
The witness who spoke to the Gazette said the victim and the suspect never spoke, and that there were no slurs or any insults directed toward him.
Police would not say whether the attack was considered a hate crime.
Though an anti-Semitic motive has not yet been confirmed, there have been incidents of anti-Semitism in Montreal in the past. Two years ago, a Jewish man who asked two Muslim women how they felt about a proposed law which would ban conspicuous religious clothing in the province of Quebec was attacked and cursed by the women.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)