Teen arrested for JCC bomb threats charged in Israel with thousands of offenses


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Israeli-American teen accused of making threats against Jewish community centers throughout the United States was charged in a Tel Aviv court.

The teen from Ashkelon in southern Israel, who was arrested in Israel last month in a joint operation with the FBI, was charged Monday in district court in Tel Aviv with thousands of counts of offenses including extortion, publishing false information, causing panic, computer hacking and money laundering.

According to the indictment, the teen, who has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, cannot be named in reports originating from Israel, made threats to 2,000 different institutions around the world, including the Israeli embassy in Washington and other Israeli diplomatic missions, schools, malls, police stations, hospitals and airlines.

Threats to three different airlines, including Israel’s national carrier El Al, led to planes making emergency landings, dumping fuel, and requiring military escorts, according to the indictment.

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He is also charged with threatening Republican Delaware State Senator Ernesto Lopez, for publicly criticizing the person who made the threatening calls to Jewish institutions, including sending illicit drugs to the lawmakers house and threatening to publish photographs and call the authorities to arrest him for possession. He also is charged with harassing a former Pentagon official, George Little, including threatening to kidnap and kill his children.

Other charges include buying drugs, running an online hacking and document forging service, buying and selling weapons online, and possession of child pornography, as well as assault of an Israeli police officer who came to arrest him, according to the Times of Israel.

Israel’s State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan is opposed to allowing the extradition to the United States of the suspect, Haaretz reported Monday, echoing a report from Sunday on Israel’s Channel 2 that said Israel has rejected a U.S. Justice Department request to extradite the teen.  A formal extradition request has not been filed, according to Haaretz, but in informal negotiations Israeli justice officials have said they want to put the teen on trial in Israel.

The U.S. Justice Department said Friday it was charging the teen with 28 counts of making threatening calls to JCCs in Florida, conveying false information to the police and cyberstalking.

The teen’s parents and attorney have said he has a benign brain tumor that affects his behavior, as well as a very low I.Q.

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