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Antisemitic messages, gasoline found in clinical area at General Campus, Ottawa Hospital says

Ottawa police are investigating after the Ottawa Hospital said gasoline and unspecified antisemitic messages were discovered inside a clinical area at the General Campus this week.

The Ottawa Hospital says they were found in one of the clinical areas of the hospital on Smyth Road Thursday night.

"A police investigation is underway, and they have indicated there is no risk to the safety of anyone in the hospital," an Ottawa Hospital spokesperson said in a statement.

The hospital says some patient appointments have been rescheduled while the clinical area is cleaned.

"As a hospital, we care for and treat everyone equally. At TOH, there is absolutely no place for hatred, discrimination, antisemitism, or Islamophobia," the Ottawa Hospital said.

"The hospital condemns this deplorable act and will continue working closely with Police Services to hold those who are responsible accountable. At The Ottawa Hospital, we believe that equity, diversity and inclusion make us stronger, both as an organization and as part of the community."

The Ottawa Hospital says it has enhanced security measures at all campuses, and it is working with staff to "ensure they have all the support they need."

Ottawa police tell CTV News Ottawa officers responded to a call at 11:15 p.m. Thursday for a suspicious incident at the General Campus.

"Officers examined the scene where gasoline had been poured. There were no reported injuries and no identified threat to public safety," a police spokesperson said, adding the East Criminal Investigation Section is investigating.

An Ottawa police spokesperson told CTV News Ottawa officers found no hate-related messages at the scene.

Police statement: "The Ottawa Police is still investigating this matter; and at this time, there is no evidence to indicate that this is a hate-motivated incident. Messaging left at the scene was not hate-related and spoke to the ongoing conflict in Gaza..."

"At this time, there is no evidence to indicate that this is a hate-motivated incident. Messaging left at the scene was not hate-related and spoke to the ongoing conflict in Gaza," police said in a statement to CTV News Ottawa at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.

"Police will not provide further comments so as not to jeopardize the integrity of the ongoing investigation."

An Ottawa Hospital spokesperson says the hospital stands by its statement. 

"It's horrifying, it's disturbing and it seems to be and seems to demonstrate an escalation of the level of hate and the level of antisemitism in the community," Sarah Beutel, interim CEO of the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, told CTV News Ottawa. "It's horrifying."

Ottawa police have said they are concerned about a rise in hate-motivated incidents and crimes against Jewish and Muslim residents in the city since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last month.

On Monday, police said a 29-year-old man was charged with various hate-motivated offences after an Ottawa rabbi received a threatening phone call.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Ted Raymond Top Stories

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