Jewish leaders welcome arrest of threat suspect

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Marcy Oster

Rosenfeld said he is accused of making threats against Jewish groups in New Zealand, Australia, the US and likely Canada.

The FBI, which had taken part in the investigation, confirmed the arrest but had no other comment.

In a statement to members of the Miami Beach JCC, CEO Paul Frishman said, "We are hopeful that this suspect is found to be the one responsible for all of the JCC threats including the ones here at our own facility". The Anti-Defamation League has also been targeted.

The man is from southern Israel and used masking technology to hide the origins of his communication with his targets, which consisted mainly of synagogues and other public Jewish buildings.

BuzzFeed News tallied that more than 100 threats have been made to Jewish community centers and schools around the United States since the start of 2017. Police said he is 19 years old, but several Israeli media outlets reported him as 18.

"The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs", Sessions said in the statement.

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This arrest is consistent with earlier reports, NYPD: Single Caller May Be Behind Most Jewish Community Bomb Threats. "I commend the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Israeli National Police for their outstanding work on this case". A police spokesman said a motive is not yet known and that the FBI helped Israeli police with the investigation.

But the arrest of a Jewish teenager over at least a portion of the threats is likely to greatly complicate the debate over the issue.

Sources familiar with the case gave the suspect's age as 19 and said he is Jewish and holds Israeli and USA citizenship. Then, late last month, he opened a speech to Congress by denouncing anti-Semitism. The suspect, who lives in Ashkelon, has an American and Israeli passport. The first bomb threat occurred on January 5 - Trump denounced them on February 21.

Toronto police said Thursday that they were not aware of the arrest, or if it is connected to the March 7 threat against Miles Nadal.

But Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the ADL, said anti-Semitism in the US remains a "very serious concern".

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