Arrest made in JCC bomb threats

FBI makes at least one arrest in New York in connection with bomb threats against Jewish institutions.

Elad Benari, Canada,

FBI officers
FBI officers
Reuters

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on Friday arrested a man in St Louis, Missouri, who is suspected of making bomb threats to Jewish community centers and schools around the United States, AFP reports.

The Justice Department said Juan Thompson, 31, was thought to be behind at least eight of more than 100 threats made in recent weeks to Jewish schools, community centers and other institutions.

The agency said the threats were made as part of Thompson's efforts to harass an unnamed former girlfriend.

"Today, we have charged Juan Thompson with allegedly stalking a former romantic interest by, among other things, making bomb threats in her name to Jewish Community Centers and to the Anti-Defamation League," New York-based Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement quoted by AFP.

"Threats of violence targeting people and places based on religion or race-- whatever the motivation -- are unacceptable, un-American and criminal," added Bharara.

Thompson allegedly emailed in threats against the Jewish institutions that indicated his ex-girlfriend was behind the threats.

He also made some in his own name, but as ploys to allege that she was trying to frame him for the crime.

Thompson was charged with one count of cyberstalking, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Jewish community centers and schools across the U.S. have repeatedly been targeted with false bomb threats.

On Monday, at least 10 Jewish community centers and Jewish day schools across the United States received bomb threats, the fifth wave of such threats in less than two months.

In addition, more than 100 headstones at the Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery near St. Louis were vandalized last week.

This week, more than 100 headstones were damaged over the weekend at the Mount Carmel Cemetery in Philadelphia.

And, on Thursday, five headstones were found toppled at a Jewish cemetery in Rochester, New York.

No bomb was found after any of the threatening phone calls against the JCCs, but the threats prompted clamor for President Donald Trump to condemn the anti-Semitism behind the targeting of these Jewish institutions.

At his address to a joint session of Congress this week, Trump condemned the wave of anti-Semitism, saying, “We are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)




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