Israeli-American teenager arrested for making Jewish community center bomb threats
Israeli authorities have arrested a suspect in the investigation of the dozens of bomb threats received by Jewish synagogues and community centers in the U.S. over the past few months.
The suspect, not yet identified by officials, is reportedly a 19-year-old who holds both Israeli and American citizenship. Investigators believe that this arrest is separate from that of the St. Louis man in early March who allegedly attempted to frame an ex-girlfriend for making some of the bomb threats.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions praised the work of both FBI and Israeli police in locating and arresting the suspect.
“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,” Sessions said Thursday. “The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”
Though authorities have not yet shared any information about the suspect aside from his citizenship status and age, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that he was deemed unfit for service in the Israeli military (which is mandatory for all 18-year-olds in the country).
The suspect, according to Haaretz, has declined to cooperate with investigators, who believe that he attempted to extort money from the victims of the bomb threats. Over the last two years, FBI data show that crimes perpetrated against Jews and Muslims on the basis of religion have risen sharply.