Twenty-seven Jewish community centers in 17 US states reported a wave of fake threats of attacks targeting American Jewish facilities on Wednesday prompting evacuations for the second time this month. No bombs were found nor injuries reported, as was the case after the earlier series of threats on January 9.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said that together with the Justice Department’s civil-rights division they are investigating “possible civil rights violations in connection with threats.” The statement from the agency’s Washington headquarters didn’t characterize the threats.
“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner,” the bureau said in a statement.
The JCC Association of North America said it was working with police and the threatened Jewish community centers around the world and with law enforcement agencies to “ensure that centers can safely serve their communities.” The umbrella organization thanked the “quick and thorough response from federal and local law enforcement.”
The FBI has not named any suspects nor described a likely motive. No one claimed responsibility for the calls. The called in bomb threats made in the first wave seemed to have been automated, while those from Wednesday were made by live callers, according to reports.
The Anti Defamation League on Wednesday said it received reports of threats in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Delaware, Connecticut, Alabama, California, Maine, Tennessee, South Carolina, Missouri, Texas , Kansas, Nashville; suburban Boston and Detroit; West Hartford, Connecticut and the Orlando area.
In Miami Beach, Florida, a Jewish community center received a call at 9:54 am and was evacuated, police said on Twitter. Officers and police dogs searched the area but found no bomb and the center reopened, they said.
The JCC Association said it was “concerned about the Anti-Semitism behind these threats. While the bombs in question are hoaxes, the calls are not.”
Two centers in Connecticut said on Facebook they had received threatening phone calls and had evacuated. No bombs were found, they said.
ADL director Jonathan Greenblatt said that “so far these threats do not appear to be credible,” but urged centers to take them seriously nevertheless.
“While each incident needs to be taken seriously and investigated closely, thus far we are not aware of any of these threats being substantiated,” Greenblatt said.
Jewish Business news staff and media sources contributed to this report.