According to Israeli police, a young Jewish man was arrested in Israel on suspicion of planning the wave of bomb threats made against Jewish centers in the US and around the world this year.
The teenager, 19, holds both Israeli and American citizenship. He used “advanced camouflage technologies” to mask his location and confuse investigators.
A joint probe with the FBI resulted in the arrest in Israel. The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, praised it as the “culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents”.
Since January, around 150 bomb threats made against Jewish schools, community centers and synagogues in the US. The arrest marks another strange twist in the events.
America’s Jewish community was rattled by the unrelenting string of calls, which led to accusing Donald Trump’s White House of not doing enough to speak out against the anti-Semitic threats.
The caller contacted different Jewish organizations, using a tool that distorted his voice, and warn that “in a short time a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered”.
Several analysts thought that the threats were made by American white supremacists who felt encouraged by the election of Donald Trump.
Not right wing?
However, three weeks ago the FBI arrested Juan Thompson who is a black, left-wing American reporter on suspicion of making at least some of the threats. US prosecutors said he made eight threatening calls to harass and intimidate his ex-girlfriend.
The teenager’s motivations for allegedly making the threats in the US as well as in Australia and New Zealand, are not clear. But he appears to have mental problems.
Galit Bash, his defense lawyer told a court that he suffered from “severe medical problems” that might impact his psychological state. The lawyer said: “There is concern that his medical condition affects his cognitive functioning.”
According to the Jerusalem Post, the accused is an American citizen who made aliya, which is the process where any Jew from any country can become an Israeli citizen. And it was reported that the Israeli military declined to draft him because he was unfit to serve.
Authorities said that they found antennas and satellite equipment at the house. Police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld said: “He didn’t use regular phone lines. He used different computer systems so he couldn’t be backtracked.”
Israeli police said he has been making the threats for several years and that he was responsible for forcing a Delta airlines flight to make an emergency landing in 2015.
One of the calls made to the Jewish Community Centre (JCC) was obtained by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. A voice disguised with technology gave a detailed warning of what they said was to come:
“In a short time, a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered,” the voice said. “There’s a lot of shrapnel. There’s going to be a bloodbath that’s going to take place in a short time. I think I told you enough. I must go.”