US identifies, charges Israeli teen accused of Jewish threats

By REUTERS
April 22, 2017 00:12
1 minute read.
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An Israeli-American teenager accused of making dozens of bomb threats to Jewish community centers has been identified for the first time in two criminal complaints filed on Friday in US courts in Florida and Georgia.

The teen, who has dual citizenship and lives in Israel, made at least 245 threatening telephone calls between Jan. 4 and March 7, with a significant portion of them targeting Jewish community centers in the United States, according to the complaints.

Authorities have not publicly offered a possible motive.

The suspect was arrested in Israel on March 23 by Israeli national police and has been in custody. His name has been withheld by Israeli authorities pending a formal indictment there.

The US Department of Justice did not say whether it would seek his extradition.

The waves of threats forced widespread evacuations, including of centers with young children, and prompted concern among Jewish leaders about a resurgence of anti-Semitism.

The complaints against the teen provided new detail about the evidence authorities have, including a flash drive found in his laptop containing recordings of numerous telephoned threats and media reports about those calls.

The suspect spontaneously told officers who arrested him at his house in Ashkelon, Israel, that he "did not do it," according to the Florida complaint. When asked what he meant, he referred to the Jewish community center threats, even though no officer had mentioned them, the complaint said.

The suspect also has a speech impediment that matched one observed in recordings of the threat calls, US authorities said.

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