An 18-and-a-half year old dual US-Israeli citizen from Ashkelon has been arrested on suspicion of standing behind most of a series of bomb and other threats to Jewish communities ranging from the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand over the past six months.
As of Thursday, with a gag order on the probe lifted by the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, which extended his detention, sources indicate that most of the cases of threats against Jewish communities and organizations, though not all, led investigators back to Israel.
The first threat, which stood out and was picked up on by Israeli investigators, occurred in New Zealand around six month ago and led to the opening of the investigation.
Israel has been the lead coordinator with a number of other involved countries throughout the course of the probe.
The suspect used complex methods to shield himself from identification, and law enforcement had to use a variety of their own complex methods to find him.
Law enforcement finally searched the suspect’s house on Thursday and are only now fully being able to piece together the breadth and methodology of his operations.
There are still few details available about the suspect’s profile, but he is not in the IDF, not ultra-Orthodox, and at some point made aliya and possibly has psychological and social problems.
The suspect’s father has also been detained and is being questioned as to whether he knew about the suspect’s activities, including the suspect’s use of a large antenna and other unusual hardware which could have drawn suspicion.
It is unknown how many others might have worked with the suspect, but it is believed that he was the main operator of the scare-spree and might have even acted completely on his own.
As of Thursday, it was still unclear what the suspect’s motivations were for the scare-spree which made international headlines.
In light of the threats, US President Donald Trump faced accusations that he was light on fighting antisemitism when he did not initially condemn the scares along with some vandalism of Jewish graves, which presumably were not connected to the suspect.
Israel intends to indict the suspect in its own courts, but it is unknown as of Thursday whether other countries like the US might also seek to extradite and try him for his alleged crimes.
Police Spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld told, “this is one of the numerous ongoing police operations that take place with other international security and intelligence organizations in order to try to find suspects.”
“This specific investigation was complex in terms of the suspect and its nature and there was a significant breakthrough in the investigation which led us to make the arrest of the suspect who lives in Southern Israel,” he said.
Rosenfeld continued, noting that “he was the main suspect behind the numerous amount of threats which were made to different Jewish communities and organizations around the world.”
Further, Rosenfeld said that, “as part of the ongoing investing, we are trying to see if and how he was connected to the different Jewish communities in the US. That directs the investigation as to the American connection. We are looking to see if there was an incident which triggered him to carry out threatening those communities.”