A man from Montreal is believed to be among the victims of an attack by Hamas militants on Israel over the weekend, according to his family.
Alain Haim Look said in a social media post that his son Alexandre Look was killed in Israel on Saturday while trying to save those around them.
"Like a real warrior, he left like a hero in wanting to protect the people he was with," the father wrote on Facebook.
"Alex was a force of nature, endowed with a unique charisma and unparalleled generosity. The world will never be the same without you."
A spokeswoman for the Chabad of Westmount Education Centre said she knows Look's parents, who are part of the centre's community, and she confirmed the authenticity of the post.
Devorah Shanowitz, the centre's director of education, described the parents in a phone interview as "salt of the earth people, hard working, and very much proud of their son.”
She said the centre's rabbis have visited the family, and the organization is starting an emergency fund to help them. The fundraiser on charidy.com had raised over $22,000 as of Monday at 6 p.m.
Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Sunday afternoon that it was aware of reports of one Canadian who has died amid the fighting and two others who are missing, but has not yet confirmed the death.
The parents told CBC that Look was among the 3,500 young people who were attending an outdoor music festival when it was attacked.
Look’s mother, Raquel Ohnona Look, told the network that she was on a video call with her son while the attack happened.
She said she heard screams and crying, her son’s voice, and then gunshots.
"They're killing my son as we speak," she recalled thinking.
At least 260 people were killed and others were taken hostage after dozens of Hamas militants opened fire at the festival, in what’s been described as the worst civilian massacre in Israel’s history.
The attack by Hamas over the weekend, and Israel's response, had left nearly 1,600 dead and thousands wounded on both sides by late Monday, with that number climbing rapidly.
Shanowitz said Montreal's Jewish community members are struggling to wrap their minds around the extreme violence they've witnessed from afar in recent days.
“I think that people are feeling a great sense of shock, a great sense of grief and also, I would say, a great sense of outrage at the callousness, the targeting of civilians, the premeditated, heinous murder of civilians," she said.
Shanowitz said the Jewish community was holding a vigil in solidarity with Israel on Monday night. She said it’s unclear when the Look family will be able to mourn their son with a Jewish service, which traditionally comes after remains are buried, due to the complexity of repatriating his body.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2023.
-- With files from The Associated Press