Israeli-Jewish teen who allegedly terrorised US Jewish communities has brain tumour

A US-Israeli teen, who was arrested in Israel on suspicion of making bomb threats against Jewish community centres in the United States, appears in courtReuters

An Israeli Jewish teenager with joint US citizenship has been arrested in Israel after he allegedly made numerous anonymous bomb threats against Jewish targets and called one airline in the US saying he was going to "kill Jews".

The individual, who has not been named, is from the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon. He was arrested following the request of the FBI. The US domestic intelligence agency has been investigating a wave of threats to Jewish organisations in recent months.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has said in one recording it acquired that the suspect is heard telling staff at Delta Airline he planned to kill Jews on board a flight.

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The Guardian reported that police took a number of computers from the suspect as well as other materials. The arrest came following an undercover investigation by an Israeli cybercrime unit.

A police spokesman in Israel said what had motivated the hoax calls was unclear, but confirmed the arrested individual had made the threats against the Jewish community centres.

The caller was able to hide his tracks to a certain extent but cyber security experts have said the level of sophistication would have been accessible to an experienced hacker.

The US anti-defamation league has counted 166 fake bomb threats against Jewish schools, centres and synagogues since 9 January. Earlier this month Juan Thompson, a former journalist, was arrested in connection with hoax calls. He had placed them from the phone of an ex-partner as an campaign to harass her.

"We hope that this investigation will help shed light on some of the recent threats against Jewish institutions, which have caused great concern both among Jewish communities and the Israeli government," Israel's public security minister, Gilad Erdan, said in a statement.

The teenage suspect's lawyer has said his behaviour may have stemmed from a "very serious" medical investigation which in the past had prevented him from serving in the army or going to school.

According to his lawyer, Channel 10 TV said, the suspect has been suffering from brain tumour since the age of 14, and as a result, has been home schooled ever since. According to her, the illness affects his behaviour, which impedes him from working and even prevented him from being conscripted into the IDF.

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Channel 10 TV also showed images of a large antenna outside the suspect's house. Police said the suspect's father was also detained, apparently because of the equipment.

The suspect allegedly also called the Israel Police's 100 call emergency call centre two months ago, claiming that bombs had been planted in several educational institutions across the country.

The caller, with a woman's voice, warned,"You have a bomb in the school."

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