Israel indicts U.S. teen over threats to Jewish centers

JERUSALEM — Israel indicted an 18-year-old American-Israeli Jew on Monday for a wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in the United States that stoked fears of a rising wave of anti-Semitism.

CBS Radio News correspondent Robert Berger says the charge sheet accuses the suspect of extortion and publishing false information that caused panic.

The teenager was arrested last month in a joint operation of the Israeli police and FBI. His motives still are not clear.

On Friday, he was charged in federal court in Orlando, Florida, with 28 counts of making threatening calls and conveying false information to police. Separately, he was charged with three more counts of cyberstalking in an indictment filed in federal court in Athens, Georgia.

Israel has not identified the suspect because he was minor when he committed the alleged offenses in the country. The American indictment, however, identifies him as Michael Ron David Kadar.

The Israeli indictment says that in addition to the Jewish centers, the accused also targeted airports, malls, police stations and Republican state Senator Ernesto Lopez from Delaware. He also offered his intimidation services over the internet in return for compensation in Bitcoin.

Kadar was arrested last month after a trans-Atlantic investigation with the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies. U.S. Jewish groups welcomed the breakthrough in the case, which had drawn condemnation from President Donald Trump.

Since Jan. 9, there have been more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centers and day schools in 37 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group that battles anti-Semitism.

The threats led to evacuations, sent a chill through local Jewish communities and raised fears of rising anti-Semitism. Acts of vandalism on Jewish targets, including cemeteries, have added to those concerns. U.S. authorities have also arrested a former journalist from St. Louis, Juan Thompson, for allegedly threatening Jewish organizations and charged him with one count of cyberstalking.

But Israeli police described their man as the primary suspect in the wave of threats, numbering more than 2,000.

Police said he used sophisticated “camouflage technologies” to disguise his voice and mask his location. They said a search of his home uncovered antennas and satellite equipment.

The indictment says his motive was to cause public alarm. Among the charges against him are making a bomb threat against an El-Al flight to Israel that sparked fighter jets to be scrambled, and threatening a Canadian airport, which required passengers to disembark in emergency slides. Six people were injured. He was also accused of threatening a Virgin flight that as a result dumped eight tons of fuel over the ocean before landing, and threatening a plane being used by the NBA’s Boston Celtics.

In addition to threatening Lopez, he is also charged with harassing former Pentagon official George Little and threatening to kidnap and kill his children.

Kadar’s lawyer says he has a serious medical condition that might have affected his behavior. She said the condition had prevented him from attending elementary school, high school or enlisting in the army, which is compulsory for most Jewish men.

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