Manhunt for Chabad House Bomber

Santa Monica police are hunting for a transient suspected in last week's bombing of a downtown Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish center. No one was injured.

Hana Levi Julian , | updated: 11:26

Ron Hirsch, aka Israel Fisher
Ron Hirsch, aka Israel Fisher
Israel news photo: courtesy of S. Monica Poli

Synagogues, Jewish centers and Chabad Houses in the west Los Angeles area have been placed under beefed-up security following a bombing attack last week on a Santa Monica Chabad House. Police have stepped up patrols in the area, according to Sgt. Richard Parks of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Pacific station, which covers the area.

"We're making routine patrols four or five times during our watch," Parks told the AFP news agency Sunday morning.

A 60-year-old white male transient, Ron Hirsch, also known as Israel Fisher, is sought in connection with the blast. He is described as bearded and heavy-set with green eyes, and is considered “extremely dangerous,” police said.

They added that he has been known to “frequent synagogues and Jewish community centers seeking charity from patrons.” The FBI and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are also involved in the investigation.

Last week's blast damaged an outside wall of the Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue, shattered windows and sent a metal pipe flying on to the roof of a neighboring house where a boy was sleeping, police said.

Police immediately cordoned off several blocks around the city's Chabad House following the early morning explosion, immediately ordered everyone outside, and summoned the bomb squad. No one was injured in the blast.

Rabbi Isaac Levitanksy told that he “grabbed the new Torah scrolls” when he and his wife Sara were told by police to evacuate the building.

Services being held in the nearby Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue, led by the rabbi's brother, Rabbi Eli Levitansky, continued uninterrupted by the explosion, which worshipers later said they barely heard.

The fire department and Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's bomb squad quickly got down to business, along with police. “We have to work our way down, examining all possibilities,” Santa Monica Police Sgt. Darrick Jacob said at the time. “We have to load for bear, and look for squirrel.”

After considering the possibilities that the blast was caused by an industrial accident, police later concluded that the explosion resulted from a deliberately launched projectile.

“The police investigated and found that some combustible construction material exploded, sending a pipe encased in concrete weighing about 300 lb into the air, hitting the exterior wall of Chabad House and landing in the roof of a neighboring home,” explained Levitansky in a statement on the group's website. “Our services are continuing as normal.”