The latest suspect in the wave of phoned in bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers used “advanced camouflage technologies” to cover his tracks. He has been named as 18-year-old Michael Kaydar. Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told multiple media outlets that Kaydar is the main suspect behind the threats made in the U.S. and in Australia. The suspect is a dual American and Israeli citizen. This arrest comes a month after Juan Thompson, the disgraced journalist, had been arrested for making similar threats amid an apparent rise in anti-semitic acts. Thompson and Kaydar are not thought to have any connection.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kaydar Is Accused of Trying to Grab a Cop’s Gun While He Was Being Arrested
The FBI worked closely with Israeli authorities in order to arrest Kaydar, reports the New York Times. A spokeswoman for the feds, Samantha Shero, told the Times, “Investigating hate crimes is a top priority for the F.B.I., and we will continue to work to make sure all races and religions feel safe in their communities and in their places of worship.” It’s been reported that while he was being arrested, Kaydar attempted to grab a police officer’s gun.
CNN reports that Kaydar used sophisticated software in order to cover his tracks. He lives in the southern part of Israel in the town of Ashkelon. A spokesman for the Israeli authorities, Micky Rosenfeld, told the Associated Press that Kaydar is “the guy who was behind the JCC threats.”
YNET reports that Kaydar’s father was also arrested. The pair will return to court on March 30. When asked about Kaydar’s father’s connection to the case, a police source told YNET, “There was a hidden investigation for two and a half years, and both of them have recently gone up and I can not elaborate.” The network adds that police confiscated a large wifi antenna from Kaydar’s home.
2. Kaydar Has Suffered From a Brain Tumor Since Age 14
Kaydar’s lawyer told YNET that his client has suffered from a brain tumor since the age of 14. The attorney says that impacts upon his client’s behavior. His condition meant he was unable to join the IDF and he has been homeschooled.
The Daily Beast published an extensive report into how Kaydar was arrested. The suspect allegedly used a service known as Spoofcard that is based in New Jersey. The service allows users to hide their caller ID. In addition to that service, Kaydar also had a Google Voice account that he used to disguise his voice. During the campaign, Kaydar eventually made a mistake and failed to reroute his IP address, allowing one of the calls to be traced.
USA Today reports that although Kaydar is a U.S. Citizen, he has never lived in the United States and there are no plans to extradite him. He will answer to his charges in Israel.
3. Juan Thompson Had Apparently Been Trying to Frame an Ex-Girlfriend
Kaydar is completely unconnected to Juan Thompson. The former Intercept journalist who was fired when it was revealed that he had fabricated a story involving racist killer Dylan Roof. Thompson had made up quotes from someone claiming to know Roof. Those quotes indicated that Roof’s racism was fuelled by an ex-girlfriend who had left him for a black man.
Prosecutors say that Thompson had been phoning in bomb threats in order to frame his ex-girlfriend. Thompson is accused of phoning in eight threats.
4. President Trump Has Said His Administration Would Do Everything in Their Power to Stop ‘Long-Simmering Racism’
President Trump finally addressed and condemned the rise in anti-Semitism during his February 2017 speech to Congress. During a January 2017 press conference, Trump deflected when asked about the threats, preferring to talking about the electoral college.
While Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement, “Today’s arrest in Israel is the culmination of a large-scale investigation spanning multiple continents for hate crimes against Jewish communities across our country. The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans, and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”
The Anti-Defamation League said in a report that there have been over 120 bomb threats made to Jewish Community Centers across the United States. There have also been instances of vandalism at Jewish cemeteries and sightings of anti-semitic graffiti in major cities.
5. Kaydar Is Also Accused of Forcing a Plane to Make an Emergency Landing
CNN reports that Kaydar is accused of being behind threats made in Australia and New Zealand. The network says that in one incident, a threat forced an airliner to make an emergency landing while authorities searched for explosive materials. The plane involved was a Delta plane. It occurred in 2015.