NEW YORK CITY — A 19-year-old Israeli-American man of Jewish faith was arrested for a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers around the United States, according to the FBI and reports.
The suspect, who has dual Israeli and American citizenships, called in dozens of anonymous threats to various centers across the Unites States since the beginning of the year, according to the Associated Press and Haaretz. The man, who lived in the south of Israel for years, used technology to mask the origin of his calls and also made some to places in New Zealand and Australia, the AP reported.
"Investigating hate crimes is a top priority for the FBI and we will continue to work to make sure all races and religious feel safe in their communities in their places of worship," the FBI said in a statement.
Police & FBI investigation arrest Israeli age 19 suspected of making threats to Jewish organizations, communities & JCC bomb threats in US.— Micky Rosenfeld (@MickyRosenfeld) March 23, 2017
His name and place of residency in the Unites States has not immediately been released.
The suspect's father was also take into custody, Haaretz reported.
It's unclear if the suspect is linked to the bomb threats to the centers in New York City, including the ones at the Staten Island JCC.
"We are relieved there’s been an arrest in the majority of the bomb threats against JCCs, schools, synagogues and several of our offices across the country," said Jonathan Greenblat, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement.
"While the details of this crime remain unclear, the impact of this individual’s actions is crystal clear: These were acts of anti-Semitism. These threats targeted Jewish institutions, were calculated to sow fear and anxiety, and put the entire Jewish community on high alert."
The NYPD did not have any information on the arrest.
There have been about 165 bomb threats called into various Jewish centers across the country since January, according to the ADL, whose Manhattan offices were targeted twice.
Earlier this month, former journalist Juan Thompson, 31, was arrested in St. Louis after prosecutors said he called in several of the threats in a bid to get back at his ex-girlfriend.