Several Jewish centres across U.S. receive bomb threats, leading to evacuations
Some reported threats have come via robocall
Bomb threats targeted Jewish community centres in at least six states Monday, and some were made with prerecorded telephone calls, according to an official with the Jewish Federations of North America.
It's not clear why up to 20 Jewish community centres across the South and Northeast were targeted, said Richard Sandler, chair of the JFNA board of trustees.
"Some of the threats were robocalls," said Sandler, adding that the number of threats was unusually high.
No additional details about the calls were immediately available. Some community centres were evacuated but no explosives were found, Sandler said.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UPDATE?src=hash">#UPDATE</a>: All clear given at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MiamiBeach?src=hash">#MiamiBeach</a> Jewish Community Center after threat prompted evacuation. <a href="https://t.co/BdGJbCd8EC">https://t.co/BdGJbCd8EC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JCC?src=hash">#JCC</a>—@CBSMiami
Bomb threats also targeted Jewish community centres and schools in central Florida and Tampa last week, but Sandler said there was no apparent link between those threats and the calls received Monday.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman Amanda Hils said in an email that the agency was aware of the threats and its field divisions were ready to assist state and local law enforcement.
Most of the centres have resumed normal operations, said David Posner, director of strategic performance at JCC Association of North America.
Threats made in East Coast, southeast
The Maitland Jewish Community Campus was evacuated Monday for the second time in a week because of a bomb threat. The complex includes a school, community centre, a Holocaust museum and the offices of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando.
Bomb threats also were received at the Miami Beach Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Community Alliance of Jacksonville. A Miami-Dade Police bomb squad was dispatched to the Alper Jewish Community Center, where staff evacuated hundreds of children "as an abundance of caution," said Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta.
In Nashville, Tenn., 225 people were evacuated from the Gordon Jewish Community Center and an adjacent school after a security guard received a bomb threat over the phone. Buildings were evacuated and authorities investigated similar threats in Atlanta; Tenafly, N.J.; Columbia, S.C.; and Wilmington, Del.
In Maryland, threats also were called into Jewish community centres in Baltimore and Rockville.