Israeli police have arrested a 19-year-old Jewish Israeli-US young man as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers and other institutions in the U.S.
A Jewish Israeli teenager born in the US has been arrested on suspicion of issuing dozens of fake bomb threats against Jewish institutions in North America and elsewhere in recent months, police said on Thursday.
Police said the resident of the southern city of Ashkelon was the subject of a months-long undercover investigation by police’s Lahav 433 cyber unit and the FBI. It said in a statement that the motive behind the bomb threats was unclear. Police said he is 19 years old, but several Israeli media outlets reported him as 18.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the suspect allegedly placed dozens of threatening phone calls to public venues, synagogues and community buildings in the US, New Zealand and Australia. He also placed a threat to Delta Airlines, causing a flight in February 2015 to make an emergency landing…
Rosenfeld said the man used advanced technologies to mask the origin of his calls and communications to synagogues, community buildings and public venues. He said police searched his house Thursday morning and discovered antennas and satellite equipment.
“He didn’t use regular phone lines. He used different computer systems so he couldn’t be backtracked,” Rosenfeld said.
The suspect was brought before the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court later on Thursday for a remand hearing. He was ordered to be placed under 24-hour observation, as a potential danger to himself, Channel 2 reported.
His father was also summoned by police for questioning.
The suspect, who was not named, faces charges of extortion and is accused of sowing widespread fear and panic, police said.
Sources confirmed the suspect is a dual US-Israeli citizen. He was exempted from the mandatory IDF service after recruiters deemed him unfit for military service, according to the Haaretz daily. TimesofIsrael