A 19-year-old American-Israeli has been arrested as the prime suspect in a wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centres in the US, a startling turn in a case that had stoked fears of rising anti-Semitism among Americans.
The surprising arrest on Thursday of the man, a hacker who holds dual Israeli and American citizenship, came after a trans-Atlantic investigation by the FBI and other international law-enforcement agencies.
US Jewish groups welcomed the breakthrough in the case, which had drawn condemnation from President Donald Trump.
Israeli police described the suspect as a hacker, but said his motives were still unclear.
“He’s the guy who was behind the JCC threats,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, referring to the scores of anonymous threats phoned in to Jewish community centres in the US over the past two months.
The man is also suspected of making threatening phone calls to Australia, New Zealand and within Israel. Authorities also said he had disrupted a Delta Airlines flight at New York’s JFK airport in early 2015.
Police suppressed the man’s name but said he was a dual citizen and would remain in custody until at least next Thursday. He appeared briefly in court in the central Israeli city of Rishon Letzion.