Arrest made in Israel in connection with JCC bomb threats

"I commend the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Israeli National Police for their outstanding work on this case", US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters.

The 19-year-old youth holds a dual Israeli and USA citizenship, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Katz Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill experienced firsthand the hatred and subsequent fear and panic of a bomb threat phoned in back in February.

BuzzFeed news reports that the 19-year-old suspect was arraigned in Israeli court on Thursday.

An 18-year-old Israeli Jewish man, who holds dual USA and Israeli citizenship, was arrested in Israel and is suspected of having made many of these threats, The New York Times reports. "We hope that this investigation will help shed light on some of the recent threats against Jewish institutions, which have caused great concern both among Jewish communities and the Israeli government".

The threats prompted criticism of US President Donald Trump for what some Jewish groups saw as an inadequate response from his administration.

His lawyer, Galit Bash, said the youth suffers from a "medical condition" that affects his cognitive functioning. He was arrested after an global investigation led by the cyber division of the Israel Police's Lahav 433 came to an end.

Police arrested the teenager in Israel after an undercover FBI investigation.

According to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the suspect used "advance camouflage technologies" to contact different countries to make the threats - calls that were made in the confines of his bedroom. He was exempted from the mandatory IDF service after recruiters deemed him unfit for military service, according to the Haaretz daily.

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the arrest is part of a larger investigation into hate crimes directed against the Jewish community.

Last month an ex-US journalist was arrested for several of the threats.

The Justice Department "will not tolerate the targeting of any community in the country on the basis of their religious beliefs", he said.

The suspect is also accused of making bomb threats against two Delta Airlines flights to and from JFK airport in NY on January 19.

In a statement released this afternoon, the JCC Association of North America said: "JCCs have had the opportunity to review and assess our security protocols and procedures, and we are confident that JCCs are safer today than ever before".

He was arrested in South Israel.

  • Carolyn Briggs