Breaking News Emails
TEL AVIV, Israel — An Israeli teen's bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers in America was part of a much larger terror campaign that targeted airports, planes, schools, shopping malls, police stations, a Delaware lawmaker and even the Boston Celtics, authorities said Monday.
The 18-year-old suspect, Michael Ron David Kadar, who holds dual citizenship in Israel and the United States, has been in custody in Israel since his March 23 arrest, and faces a litany of charges in both countries. An indictment filed Monday by Israel's Cybercrime Department of Israel's State Prosecutor's Office detailed a broad range of alleged threats, hoaxes and extortion attempts against more than 2,000 institutions and people over a period of two years.
The U.S. Justice Department charged him separately last week with a series of threats to JCCs, schools and airlines.
Some of the phoned-in threats were done on behalf of others who paid him in Bitcoin, an untraceable digital currency, on private corners of the Internet, the indictment alleges. He made the equivalent of about $238,000 this way, sometimes using subcontractors, authorities charged.
Israeli authorities have also charged Kadar with attempting to sell manuals and computerized kits to help people forge identity cards and official documents, make poisons and drugs, spread computer viruses and hack social media accounts. He was also found in possession of child pornography, authorities said.
Kadar's mother told NBC News that her son is autistic and suffers from a brain tumor, which could explain the alleged crimes.
All of it was allegedly done over the Internet from Israel, as Kadar allegedly used sophisticated techniques to mask himself online, including the use of a powerful antenna to use routers of other people who lived near him. He also allegedly took over computers in other countries remotely, further covering his tracks, the Israeli indictment says.
Kadar allegedly tried to extort money from Ernesto Lopez, a Delaware state senator, and threatened to kidnap and kill the children of George Little, a former U.S. Defense Department official.
Kadar's alleged work also caused waves of public panic, evacuations of public buildings and massive emergency police responses. In many cases, flights were canceled or delayed because of Kadar's alleged bomb threats.
The targets included an El Al flight that ended with French and Swiss fighter jets escorting the plane to Israel, the indictment alleges. A diverted Virgin Australia plane dumped eight tons of fuel over the ocean before landing. A plane holding members of the Boston Celtics had to be searched.
Kadar threatened the Israeli consulate in Miami and a hospital in New Jersey, causing evacuations of both buildings, the indictment says. He called 48 police stations with hoax emergencies, including claims that children or families were being held hostage at specific addresses.