Suspect in bomb threats covered his tracks

Cheryl Sanders
April 1, 2017

A teenager with dual US-Israeli citizenship who allegedly made hundreds of false bomb threats over the years to Jewish community centers around the world may have been paid for foreign entities to do so, Channel 2 reported Thursday night.

The 19-year-old man Israeli police believe is responsible for making threats to Jewish centers across the United States may be connected to a recent threat in Ann Arbor, police say.

The Israel police said the suspect had used advanced camouflage technologies when contacting the institutions and making those threats. Police Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told the Jerusalem Post that the teen "was the main suspect" for threats made to centers in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the US.

At first Israeli police could not locate the suspect but then there were reports of threats at 16 Jewish centers in nine us states - Florida, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Tennessee, Georgia, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Israel's anti-fraud squad arrested the 19-year-old suspect at his home in southern Israel and searched the premises on Thursday.

The teenage suspect's father has also been arrested and ordered held for 8 days.

After a months-long global investigation, the teenager was arrested by the cyberattack unit of Israel's anti-fraud squad, which discovered that he had been using sophisticated technology, including a voice-altering mechanism, to call in the false threats. Last month, the White House denounced the threats and rejected "anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms".

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

He said the investigation had begun in several countries where dozens of threatening calls were received at public places, events, synagogues and community buildings. "He used different computer systems so he couldn't be backtracked", Rosenfeld said.

"Today's arrest in Israel is the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country", US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

There have been more than 100 threats made against Jewish community centers and schools since January, reports show.

Local authorities were able to quickly determine the calls were hoaxes.

Police say the suspect made Aliyah at some point, the traditional return of a Jewish person to Israel.

In early March, another man was arrested for cyberstalking and calling up to eight of the bomb threats against Jewish community centers.

Other reports by iNewsToday