A homemade-bomb explosion outside a Montreal Jewish centre on the second day of Passover has brought back a chilling reminder of a dramatic firebombing of a Jewish school three years ago.

Workers at the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre in the city's west end reported hearing an explosion Tuesday night at around 11 p.m., although no one saw anything.

No one was injured, and the crude device resulted in very little damage, most of it washed away by Wednesday's rain.

The incident, however, has cast a pall over Passover in the middle of the Jewish holiday -- and just two days before the third anniversary of the firebombing at the United Talmud Torah elementary school library.

Last September, the entrance of an Orthodox Jewish school in Montreal was hit by a Molotov cocktail.

Community leaders are calling last night's incident a hate crime, while acknowledging there's little evidence to corroborate the belief.

"It's a bomb that was left in a visibly identifiable Jewish institution, on the well-known Jewish holiday of Passover -- three years after the UTT bombing," Steven Slimovitch, B'nai Brith Canada's national legal counsel, told CTV Montreal.

"And you can well understand that the result is the same. Whether or not you have the proof at the end, the result is the Jewish community is scared."

Community member Craig Smith called it a "reprehensible" act. "Whoever did this should have to pay for this. It's unbelievable that in this day and age, people can be so stupid."

While police are not yet considering the incident a hate crime, police spokesperson Lynne Labelle admitted it was a possibility.

Labelle told the Canadian Press that police are looking for a suspect and are reviewing footage from the community centre's security cameras.

Meanwhile, the B'nai Brith is asking police to revisit a pledge to be more vigilant on hate crimes following the United Talmud Torah school bombing.

The organization is calling for a permanent hate-crimes unit for the Montreal police.

"Every major Metropolitan city has one. Toronto has two police officers that do nothing other than investigate hate crimes, and it requires an expertise," said Slimovitch.

In its annual audit of anti-Semitism, B'nai Brith identified a 70 per cent increase in anti-Semitic incidents last year in Quebec and a 12.8 per cent rise nationally.

"Unfortunately, this bombing is not such incredible news to the Jewish community,'' Slimovitch told the Canadian Press.

With a report from CTV Montreal's Annie DeMelt