JCC Bomb Hoaxer Suspected of 591 Australian School Bomb Threats

Australian police allege that the suspect was behind the nationwide wave of bomb threats made against schools in 2016

The suspect before the start of a remand hearing at Magistrate's Court in Rishon Lezion, Israel. March 23, 2017.
Reuters/ Baz Ratner

The Israeli-American teenager suspected of making thousands of hoax bomb threats against Jewish centers, schools, embassies, hospitals and airlines around the world, is suspected of also making 591 bomb threats made against schools in Australia, the Guardian reported Friday, citing local police.

According to Australia's Victoria police, the 18-year-old is suspected of being be behind a large number bomb threats that were made in January 2016 against schools around the country, and that resulted in dozens of evacuations.

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The 18-year-old, whose name is barred from publication, was indicted last week in Israel and in the U.S. for the threats, that prompted criticism of U.S. President Donald Trump for what some Jewish groups saw as an inadequate response from his administration.

A spokeswoman for Victoria police commented on the extent of Australian police's role in investigating the bomb threats. "The Victoria police e-crime squad provided vital cyber evidence which resulted in the arrest of the Israeli suspect,” she said, adding that their efforts were acknowledged by Israeli police as playing a key role in the suspect's identification and arrest.

In addition to the long list of bomb threats he is suspected of carrying out, the teenager was also charged in the U.S. with the extortion of Republican senator of Delaware, Ernesto Lopez, and with calling George E. Little, a former official at the U.S. Department of Defense, and threatening to kidnap and murder his children.

The suspect's identity was made public in the U.S. last week when federal courts in Florida and Georgia filed criminal complaints in 245 cases against the suspect relating to threatening hoax calls, mostly to Jewish centres.

“These threats of violence instilled terror in Jewish and other communities across this country and our investigation into these acts as possible hate crimes continues,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement Friday. The indictment lists 28 crimes, including transferring false information and making threatening calls.

Israel’s State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan is opposed to allowing his extradition to the United States. According to Nitzan, the dual citizen should be tried in Israel because of the strong connection between the alleged offenses and the state.