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Israeli teen arrested for allegedly making bomb threats to US Jewish community centers

Posted at 8:57 AM, Mar 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-23 12:33:58-04

JERUSALEM — Israeli police say they have arrested a 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers in the U.S.

An American-Israeli Jewish teenager, center, is accused of making dozens of anti-Semitic bomb threats in the United States and elsewhere. He is seen being escorted by guards as he leaves the Israeli Justice court in Rishon Lezion on March 23, 2017.
(JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The teen’s motives are unclear, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday.

He is “the guy who was behind the JCC threats,” Rosenfeld said, referring to Jewish community centers in the U.S. that have received dozens of anonymous threats in recent weeks.

The man, from the south of Israel, used advanced technologies to mask the origin of his calls and communications to synagogues, community buildings and public venues, Rosenfeld says, adding that the teen also made threats in New Zealand and Australia.

“The incident began in several countries all at once, in which tens of phonecalls were received threatening to bury explosives (lit: charges) in public areas and around civilians. The threats created panic and led to cessation of activity,” Israeli police tweeted. “They even caused the cessation of airline activity and emergency landings.”

Rosenfeld says the investigation was carried out with the help of the FBI and police from other countries.

The accused teen will appear in court Thursday.