"Today's arrest in Israel is the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "It was wonderful news to hear an arrest has been made". "We are fortunate to know we have partners in law enforcement who will do whatever it takes to bring these perpetrators to justice".
Israeli police arrested a 19-year-old man Thursday in connection with the wave of bomb threats made to Jewish community centers in America over the last six months, authorities in Israel said. Police banned publication of his name but said he was an American-Israeli dual citizen and that he would remain in custody until at least March 30.
Aside from the bomb threats, other anti-Semitic attacks that definitely originated on United States soil have also sparked worry in Jewish communities.
Police say the man may be behind hundreds of such threats, going back two to three years.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Thursday the man's motives are unclear.
Ron Hosko, a retired FBI assistant director, said such investigations require massive manpower to solve. "These threats targeting Jewish institutions were calculated to sow fear and anxiety, and put the entire Jewish community on high alert".
The threats forced the evacuation of many JCCs, including some with day care and school facilities for infants and young children. Earlier this month Juan Thompson, a former journalist, was arrested in connection with hoax calls.
Jewish groups commended law enforcement for the arrest and said the calls still spoke to a spike in anti-Semitism.
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Galit Bash, the suspect's defense attorney, said a medical condition was the root of problem.
US authorities have also arrested a former journalist from St. Louis for allegedly threatening Jewish organizations. He faces one count of cyberstalking for making such threats via email while posing as his ex-girlfriend.
But Israeli police described the local man as the primary suspect in the wave of threats.
"The investigation began in several countries simultaneously after dozens of threatening calls were received at public places, events, synagogues and community buildings that caused panic and disrupted events and activities in various organizations", the Israel police said in a statement. He says the suspect also made threats in New Zealand and Australia.
Authorities also said he was responsible for a previous bomb threat against a Delta Airlines flight in January 2015 at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport.
Nevertheless, some leaders of JCCs in the United States feel some portion of the threat may have been mitigated with the arrest of the Israeli teenager. They say he used advanced technologies to mask his location and hide his identity when making the calls.
"He didn't use regular phone lines".