CHICAGO -- An early-morning fire at one of the city's oldest synagogues is being investigated as a hate crime after the building was hit by a Molotov cocktail.
A black mark on the north wall of Temple Sholom, in the 3400 block of North Lake Shore Drive, is the only remaining evidence of a bottle filled with an accelerant-soaked rag that authorities said was thrown at the building around 2 a.m. Monday.
No one was injured when the device landed near a childrens' playground. The fire was put out with hand pumps.
Witnesses described a two-door, dark-colored sedan leaving the scene, and police said they hope surveillance video provides clues to help solve the crime.
With increasing unrest in the Middle East, officials said they believe the fire is more than coincidence.
In what is now three days of Israeli bombing in Gaza, more than 300 people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in the response to a series of rocket strikes by Hamas.
The White House, calling Monday for a lasting cease-fire in the Mideast, backed Israel's deadly air attacks on the Gaza Strip and said the Islamic militant group ruling there had shown its "true colors as a terrorist organization." [Read More...]
The Israeli targets have included tunnels used to move supplies to Gaza.
"The seige that they have had on Gaza has caused malnutrition of children. There's no milk for the children, no food, no fuel, no medicine. It's a disaster situation in Gaza and the people in there are desperate," said Fadi Zanayed with the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Zanayed said he believes there is a silent majority on both sides that wishes for peace.
Large anti-Israeli protests have been staged in the last 24 hours in cities such as Chicago, London and Iraq. At the heavily-fortified Chicago Israeli Consulate, security is such a big concern that Consul General Orli Gil was only allowed to drive by Temple Sholom for a glance at what happened.
It is Hamas, she said, that prevents peace from prevailing in the Middle East.
"I wish we would not have to be fighting this war. This is just exercising our rights to self-defend," Gil said.