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New round of bomb threats to Jewish community centres across the US

US President Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio have condemned the attacks.

Police officers investigate a bomb threat outside the Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester in Brighton.
Police officers investigate a bomb threat outside the Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester in Brighton.
Image: TINA MACINTYRE-YEE

THE ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE and several Jewish community centres across the country got a new round of bomb threats yesterday, adding to the scores they have been plagued with since January.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was at a Jewish community centre on Staten Island to denounce previous threats when he learned of the new ones.

“This is a moment in time, in history, where forces of hate have been unleashed,” de Blasio said. “It is exceedingly unsettling.”

Federal officials have been investigating more than 120 threats against Jewish organisations in three dozen states since 9 January and a rash of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries. Over the course of Monday evening and yesterday, there were eight emailed or phoned-in bomb threats in six states plus Ontario, the JCC Association of North America said.

Jewish Threats Upstate NY Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson talks to reporters after a press briefing after a bomb threat was reported Source: TINA MACINTYRE-YEE

Two suburban Jewish community centres in upstate New York were also shut down yesterday when someone phoned in bomb threats, authorities said. The Jewish Community Center in the Milwaukee suburb of Whitefish Bay was closed for almost two hours. A Jewish community centre in Portland, Oregon, received a bomb threat, too.

In Providence, Rhode Island, an administrator at the Jewish Community Day School, attached to a synagogue, received a threat yesterday morning alleging there was a shooter with an assault rifle on the roof of the building, police said. Police and a K-9 team swept the building, no one was found.

Chicago Jewish Day School on the city’s north side was evacuated for a few hours.

In New York, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said there were five threats made, including to the New York-based Anti-Defamation League, which also received threats to its offices in Atlanta, Boston and Washington DC. The ADL said threats were also made in Florida and Maryland.

Jewish Threats Upstate NY A police officer stands in front of the Louis S. Wolk Jewish Community Center of Greater Rochester after a bomb threat was reported in Brighton Source: TINA MACINTYRE-YEE

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said he shared President Donald Trump’s hope that the threats subside.

We denounce these latest anti-Semitic and hateful threats in the strongest terms. It is incredibly saddening that I have to continue to share these disturbing reports with you.

“As long as they do continue, we will continue to condemn them and look at ways in which we can stop them.”

On Friday, Missouri resident Juan Thompson was arrested on a cyberstalking charge and accused of making at least eight of the threats nationwide, including one to the ADL. Authorities said Thompson was trying to harass and frame his ex-girlfriend by pinning the threats on her.

A criminal complaint said Thompson started making threats on 28 January. He claimed on Twitter that his ex-girlfriend was behind the calls. Thompson is scheduled to appear in court in St. Louis today for a hearing to determine if he should remain detained pending trial.

Authorities are looking for other suspects in the threats.

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Associated Press

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