Israel police arrest man in threats on US Jewish targets

2017-03-23 17:37
A 19-year-old dual US-Israeli citizen covers his face as he is brought to court in Rishon Lezion in Israel. (Nir Keidar, AP)

A 19-year-old dual US-Israeli citizen covers his face as he is brought to court in Rishon Lezion in Israel. (Nir Keidar, AP)

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Jerusalem - Israeli police on Thursday arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and other institutions in the US, marking a potential breakthrough in the case.

Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld described the suspect as a hacker, but said his motives were still unclear. Israeli media identified him as an American-Israeli dual citizen and said he had been found unfit for compulsory service in the Israeli military.

"He's the guy who was behind the JCC threats," Rosenfeld said, referring to the dozens of anonymous threats phoned in to Jewish community centres  in the US over the past two months.

The FBI, which had taken part in the investigation, confirmed the arrest but had no other comment.

The Anti-Defamation League says there have been more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centres and day schools in 37 states and two Canadian provinces since January 9. Those threats led to evacuations of the buildings, upset Jewish communities and raised fears of rising anti-Semitism.

The threats were accompanied by acts of vandalism on several Jewish cemeteries.

The threats led to criticism of President Donald Trump's administration for not speaking out fast enough. Last month, the White House denounced the threats and rejected "anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms."


Read more on:    israel

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