NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — A man who authorities believe was behind what the FBI described as a broad, credible threat against Jewish communities in New Jersey has been located, an official told PIX11 News on Friday.
A spokesperson for the Secure Community Network, which monitors the security of synagogues, said the FBI had advised them late Thursday night that the threat had been “mitigated.” The spokesperson added that SCN could not comment on the subject or charges.
“The investigation of the threat related to synagogues in New Jersey has led to the mitigation of the immediate situation and what is believed to be the resolution of the reported threat,” the spokesperson told PIX11.
A law enforcement official told the Associated Press on Friday that federal agents do not believe the suspect was planning to carry out a specific plot.
The man, whose identity was not immediately released, was questioned by law enforcement and told agents he had been bullied in the past and harbored anger toward Jewish people, the official said. But investigators do not believe the man had the means or motive to carry out any specific attack, the official added.
The FBI said Thursday that it had received credible information about a “broad” threat to synagogues in New Jersey, a warning that prompted some municipalities to send extra police officers to guard houses of worship.
The nature of the threat was vague. The FBI’s Newark office released a statement urging synagogues to “take all security precautions to protect your community and facility” but wouldn’t say anything about who made the threat or why.
The alert was posted after officials discovered an online threat directed broadly at synagogues in New Jersey, the law enforcement official said Thursday. The posting did not target any specific synagogue by name, the official said.
Public warnings about nonspecific threats against Jewish institutions, made by a variety of groups including Christian supremacists and Islamist extremists, aren’t unusual in the New York City metropolitan area, and many turn out to be false alarms. But the area has also seen deadly attacks.
Five years ago, two New Jersey men were sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted of a series of attacks in 2012 that included the firebombings of two synagogues. They also threw a Molotov cocktail into the home of a rabbi as he slept with his wife and children.
In 2019, a man stabbed five people at a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi’s home in an Orthodox Jewish community north of New York City, fatally wounding one person.