Israel indicted a suspect for a recent wave of bomb threats against Jewish community centers in the US and other targets around the world.
Israel’s Justice Ministry said the accused was charged at a district court in Tel Aviv for thousands of cases of extortion, publishing false information that caused panic, computer offenses and money laundering which lasted for some two years.
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.
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.
Israel has not identified the suspect because he was minor when he committed the alleged offenses in the country. The American indictment identified him as Michael Ron David Kadar.
Kadar was arrested last month after a trans-Atlantic investigation with the FBI and other international law-enforcement agencies.
Since January 9, there have been more than 150 bomb threats against Jewish community centers and day schools in 37 US states and two Canadian provinces, according to the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish group that battles anti-Semitism.
The threats led to evacuations, scared local Jewish communities and raised fears of rising anti-Semitism. Acts of vandalism on Jewish targets, including cemeteries, have added to those concerns.
US 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.
Israeli police said Kadar was their primary suspect in the wave of threats, numbering more than 2,000. They said he used sophisticated “camouflage technologies” to disguise his voice and mask his location, adding that a search of his home uncovered antennas and satellite equipment.
Seeking to Cause Public Alarm
The indictment says his motive was to cause “considerable” 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, which as a result dumped eight tons of fuel over the ocean before landing, and threatening a plane used by the NBA’s Boston Celtics.
In addition to threatening Lopez, Kadar 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 IDF.