Jewish centres evacuated in US after new wave of bomb threats

Image source, @MiamiBeachPD
Image caption,
Miami Beach Jewish Community Center in Florida was reopened after a hoax threat last week

The FBI is investigating another wave of bomb threats to Jewish facilities in the US after 11 sites were evacuated on Monday.

The latest threats bring the number of incidents to 69 in 27 states in the past month, according to the JCC Association of North America.

No bombs were found at any of the centres targeted with telephone calls.

Last week, 27 Jewish community centres in 17 US states reported receiving hoax bomb threats.

All of the threats made on Monday, along with previous incidents in January, turned out to be false and Jewish centres have since reopened with normal services resumed.

Responding to the latest incidents, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that US President Donald Trump had made it "abundantly clear" that such actions were "unacceptable".

"Hatred and hate-motivated violence of any kind have no place in a country founded on the promise of individual freedom," the statement, which was shared on Twitter by NBC News correspondent Peter Alexander, said.

Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka - who has converted to Judaism and whose husband is Jewish - also condemned the threats.

Image source, @IvankaTrump

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said that action must be taken to prevent further incidents.

In a post on Twitter, Mrs Clinton wrote: "JCC threats, cemetery desecration and online attacks are so troubling and they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting w/@POTUS."

The threats were made to the Jewish community centres through calls that were both pre-recorded and live, with suspects using voice-disguising technology, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been reports of threats to centres in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Delaware, Connecticut, Alabama, California, Maine, Tennessee, South Carolina, Missouri, Wisconsin, Texas and Kansas.

The JCC Association of North America, a network of health and education centres, has since been reviewing its security plans.

In an earlier statement the FBI said that along with the US justice department it was investigating possible civil rights violations in connection with the threats.

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish anti-bigotry organisation, said in a statement that it was "deeply disturbed" by the latest threats to the Jewish community.

Meanwhile, more than 100 headstones have been damaged at a Jewish cemetery in St Louis, Missouri, local media report.

In the Canadian city of Toronto, Mayor John Tory has condemned anti-Semitic hate notes left outside the homes of Jewish residents.