Police arrest Israeli Jewish man in connection to threats against Jewish community centers

JERUSALEM (KUSI) — A 19-year-old Israeli Jewish man was arrested Thursday as the primary suspect in a string of bomb threats to Jewish community centers in the United States.

The FBI and Israeli National Police arrested a 19-year-old dual Israeli-American citizen Thursday, whom they say is "the individual suspected for threats to Jewish organizations across the United States and in other parts of the world,” according to a FBI statement.

"He’s the guy who was behind the JCC threats," Israeli Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. The man’s motives are still unclear. 

The suspect was described as a hacker who had been found unfit for service in the Israeli military. Rosenfeld said the man used advanced technologies to mask the origin of his calls. Police searched his house Thursday morning and found antennas and other satellite equipment. 

The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center in La Jolla was among Jewish community centers across the United States and Canada that have received threats. According to the Anti-Defamation League, a total of 150 bomb threats have been made since Jan. 9. The Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center has received four false threats of violence since the start of the year.

Related Link: Jewish Community Center in La Jolla receives another bomb threat

U.S. authorities also arrested a former journalist from St. Louis in connection to at least eight alleged threats to Jewish organizations, including an emailed threat made to the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center on Feb. 20. Juan Thompson, 31, allegedly sent an email to the San Diego facility claiming that his former girlfriend had planted a bomb there to "kill as many Jews asap (sic)," according to the charging document. 

Israeli Police say the 19-year-old is the primary suspect. 

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