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Suspect arrested in Israel in bomb threats to U.S. Jewish Centers


WASHINGTON – Israeli police on Thursday arrested a man believed to be responsible for scores of bomb threats that were phoned in to Jewish community centers across the United States, U.S. officials said.

The FBI confirmed in a statement that the bureau had worked with Israeli national police to arrest the teenager, who, officials said, holds citizenship in both Israel and the United States.

“Investigating hate crimes is a top priority for the FBI, and we will continue to work to make sure all races and religions feel safe in their communities and in their places of worship,” a spokeswoman for the FBI, Samantha Shero, said. She said the bureau could not provide additional information about its inquiry.

Jewish community centers across the United States have reported more than 100 bomb threats since the beginning of the year. The calls, which President Donald Trump condemned during an address to Congress last month, led to evacuations and bomb sweeps and heightened worries about anti-Semitism in the United States.

The suspect was using anonymizer software to cover his tracks, according to federal law enforcement officials in the United States. The technology made it harder for the FBI to pinpoint who was making the threats.

The case in Israel is separate from that of the St. Louis man who was arrested this month and accused of making at least a half-dozen other threats to Jewish centers. In a complaint in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the authorities said that man, Juan Thompson, had acted as part of an effort to intimidate a former girlfriend.

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