Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson / Flash 90
Preparing the synagogue for the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. (archive)

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Secure Community Network are tracking the source of a “record number” of 199 swatting incidents and fake bomb threats targeting Jewish institutions across multiple states this past weekend.

According to an FBI spokesperson quoted by ABC News, the wave appears to have been a coordinated effort by an entity outside the United States. A memo written by Assistant FBI Director Cathy Milhoan to partner law enforcement agencies that was obtained by the news outlet said, “At this time, based on similar language and specific email tradecraft used, it appears the perpetrators of these threats are connected. Additionally, these threats appear to be originating from outside of the United States.”


Milhoan noted that to date, “none of these email threats have involved any actual explosive devices or credible risk of harm to congregants.”

Nevertheless, more than 30 of the 56 FBI field offices are investigating the threats.

There were 93 such incidents reported in California, 62 in Arizona, 15 in Connecticut, five in Colorado, and four in Washington State, among others.

Last week, there were similar incidents reported in Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

Law enforcement in Ohio and California announced the arrest of alleged perpetrators of a high volume of the swatting activity and false bomb threats in recent days. But the wave has continued, according to the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit Jewish security organization that advises US Jewish institutions on safety and security.

“It’s critical to recognize that these are not victimless crimes or innocent pranks: they can have real – and even deadly – consequences,” SCN CEO Michael Masters warned.

The organization said in a release that the number of swatting incidents (more than 449 in 2023)skyrocketed by 541 percent from 2022 (83 incidents) as compared to 23 incidents between 2019-2021. October and November saw a 290 percent rise since last year, “with a record 772 incidents logged,” SCN reported.

The wave of swatting and false bomb threats aimed at Jewish institutions comes in the wake of the October 7th Hamas invasion and massacre in southern Israel in addition to a record rise in security incidents and antisemitic activity across North America.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.