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Israel convicts hacker who threatened U.S. Jewish community centers

Michael Ron David Kader was accused in a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers in the United States — leading to months of panic.
by Associated Press /
Image: Michael Ron David Kadar
Michael Ron David Kadar, a U.S.-Israeli teen who arrested in Israel on suspicion of making bomb threats against Jewish community centres in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, is seen before the start of a remand hearing at Magistrate's Court in Rishon Lezion, Israel on March 23, 2017.Baz Ratner / Reuters file

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JERUSALEM — A Tel Aviv district court convicted an Israeli Jewish man for making a string of bomb threats targeting Jewish community centers in the United States.

The court did not name the man on Thursday since he was a teen when he committed the crimes. But he’s been previously identified as Michael Ron David Kadar, a hacker who holds dual Israeli and American citizenship.

The man's arrest followed a trans-Atlantic investigation with the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies. Dozens of anonymous threats last year had stoked fears of rising anti-Semitism.

Police said Kadar, from southern Israel, used advanced technologies to mask the origin of his calls and communications to synagogues, community buildings and public venues.

His defense attorneys said he was mentally ill and unfit to stand trial.

Kadar was formally charged by the U.S. Justice Department last year.

His mother previously defended her son by claiming his alleged behavior was caused by serious health problems.

"After the police were here, and when I understood what he did, I was shocked and horrified," she told NBC News.

She added that she had no idea what her son was up to, and that the first she heard about the bomb threats was on the news.

"I thought it was done by someone who is anti-Semitic," she said.

An unsealed FBI search warrant last year laid out how Kadar used a black market site known as AlphaBay to sell his hoax services on the "dark web."

AlphaBay was shut down last July. Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the time called it "one of the most important criminal investigations of the year."

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