05222017Headline:

Jewish centers across U.S. targeted in 5th wave of bomb threats

Jewish community centers and day schools across the United States have been targeted in a fifth wave of threatening phone calls, causing evacuations and closures at a number of locations, local officials say. Nothing suspicious was found.

The latest wave of threats began on early Monday morning when phone calls warning of bombs were received by at least 17 Jewish community centers and day schools across 11 states. Many of the locations were evacuated as a precaution.

Most of the incidents were reported in the state of New York, where bomb threats targeted four Jewish community centers. Three incidents were reported in Pennsylvania and two in North Carolina. One incident each was reported in New Jersey, Delaware, Indiana, Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Maryland, and Virginia.

At the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, Alabama, it was the third time in just over a month that the center had been the target of a bomb threat. The center was previously targeted on January 18 and February 20.

"When you evacuate preschool-age children or elderly people from a [Jewish Community Center], it's no hoax. The impact is real. This must end," Jonathan Greenblatt, the chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), said on his Twitter account.

Monday's incidents follow four other waves of bomb threats that have targeted Jewish community centers across the United States. At least 67 Jewish community centers were targeted on January 9, January 18, January 31, and February 20. Monday's threats bring that total to 84.

It is unknown who is responsible for the threats or whether they are part of a coordinated effort. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division have launched investigations but, as of Monday, no arrests have been made.

"The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence, and will ensure this matter is investigated in a fair, thorough, and impartial manner," FBI spokesman Paul Daymond said on Monday. "As this is matter is ongoing, we are not able to comment further at this time."

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf condemned the latest wave of bomb threats, as well as recent acts of vandalism at two Jewish cemeteries. "Any anti-Semitic act or act of intimidation aimed at Jewish institutions and people in Pennsylvania is truly reprehensible and we must find those responsible and hold them accountable," he said.

Also on Monday, Jewish community group B'nai B'rith called on the U.S. Justice Department to appoint a special coordinator on domestic anti-Semitism. "The sheer volume of threats and attacks on Jewish institutions in recent months has reached alarming levels that require swift action at the highest levels of government," the organization said in a statement.

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