Jewish community centers in a widespread number of American states were evacuated due to bomb threats on Monday morning, while across the ocean, the same phenomenon was taking place in London, England as well.
Jewish schools across the United Kingdom were placed on alert after bomb threats were called into metro London Jewish schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent on Monday morning. The schools were “warned” that explosive devices had been planted on the premises. Thorough searches were conducted at all three sites and other schools were placed on precautionary lock-downs until the “all clear” was received.
Bomb threats were also called in to a few non-Jewish schools as well, according to the British Jewish Chronicle news site.
“Police were alerted at around 10:30am hrs on Monday, 9 January, to phone calls made to schools in Roehampton, Ilford and Brent in which bomb threats were made. Police officers attended the schools. All three incidents were stood down a short time later. An investigation into the threat will be conducted,” Metropolitan Police said in a statement.
Meanwhile, in the United States, bomb threats were called into Jewish Community Centers (JCC)s in Delaware, Tenafly, New Jersey; Miami Beach and Jacksonville, Florida; in Rockville, Maryland; in West Nashville, Tennessee, and Columbia, South Carolina.
In Delaware, police were called to search the Siegel Jewish Community Center north of Wilmington on Monday, after a bomb threat was called into the facility at around 11:45 am. The caller reportedly said there was a bomb inside the complex, according to Seth J. Katzen, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Delaware, who spoke with Delaware Online, The News Journal.
The building was alerted, Katzen said, and everyone was evacuated from the four facilities at the site, including the JCC, the Jewish Federation of Delaware, the Albert Einstein Academy (K-5) and Jewish Family Services of Delaware. Although police arrived quickly, they told Katzen it would be “a few hours” before they could declare an “all clear.”
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the Jewish Community Center on Palisades in Tenafly sent out a text to its membership warning it had received a bomb threat shortly after 12 noon. As a precaution, officials evacuated the building, which contains a preschool, a senior center and an adult daycare facility for people with disabilities. Parents of preschoolers were asked to pick up their children and all JCC programs were canceled for the day. The “all clear” was received a short time later from the bomb squad that swept the building.
About 450 students and 70 teachers and staff members were evacuated from the Alper JCC School at SW 112th Avenue in southwest Miami-Dade as a precaution at around 11 am, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said. A second Miami-Dade Jewish Community Center was also evacuated, according to CBS Miami, which reported the threat was called in to the main operator line of the facility.
Miami Beach police also were called to the Jewish Community Center on Pine Tree, where only a handful of people were in the building at the time. A thorough search that included K-9 units turned up nothing and the “all-clear” was given. In addition, the Jewish Community Alliance building in Jacksonville, Florida was also evacuated in response to a bomb threat as well. Both were called in at around 10:45 am. Both were given the “all clear” within an hour or two, after sweeps of the buildings turned up nothing.
A woman called a bomb threat into the Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington in Rockville, Maryland, according to CBS News. Officials immediately evacuated the building, Executive Director Michael Feinstein said.
In West Nashville, Tennessee, metro police responded to a report at about 10:30 am of a bomb threat at the Gordon Jewish Community Center, in the 800 block on Percy Warner Boulevard. Officials quickly evacuated the 80 people who were in the building, which functions as a childcare center during the week, according to The Tennessean, part of the USA Today network. Special Agent Michael P. Knight of the Nashville field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told media the ATF is standing by to provide “technical assistance” as needed.
In South Carolina, the Columbia Fire Department and the Richland County bomb squad were also called in just before 11:30 am Monday to scan the Katie and Irwin Kahn Jewish Community Center on Flora Drive in Columbia, WBTV reported. After a thorough scan of the building, nothing was found and the “all clear” was given.
This is a developing story.Hana Levi Julian