Bomb threat forces hundreds in Rockville to evacuate
NEW YORK/WASHINGTON A wave of telephone bomb threats to 16 Jewish community centers in nine US states may have originated from the same number and been placed by at least one individual and an automated calling system, security officials said on Tuesday.
No additional details about the calls were immediately available.
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokeswoman Amanda Hils said in an email that the agency was aware of the threats and that its field divisions were ready to assist state and local law enforcement.
The 54-acre campus is home to synagogues, schools and a community center.
Paul Goldenberg, the director of the Jewish community security group Secure Community Network, confirmed that all of the reports were false.
"Bomb threats to Jewish communities are nothing new", Goldenberg said in a phone interview.
Neither JCC in the Greater MetroWest area (which includes JCC MetroWest in West Orange and the JCC of Central New Jersey in Scotch Plains) was targeted, nor were any other local Jewish community institutions, though JCC MetroWest received a bomb threat in 2012.
Bender JCC of Greater Washington in Rockville, Maryland, said it had also reopened after receiving a threat and being swept checked by local authorities.
David Sorkin, the executive director of the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island, said in an online letter his organization "experienced what is becoming an all too frequent incident in our society".
Barry Ables, a JCC Columbia official, felt similarly, telling Haaretz that most people "are relieved that it was just a scare, but people are also thinking about the changing climate". "What's extraordinary is that we had so many in such a short period of time".
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