The F.B.I. warned synagogues in New Jersey about an increased level of risk, and interviewed a man they believed was behind the threats. They issued this warning in an abundance of caution after receiving credible information of a broad threat to synagogues.
The 18-year-old New Jersey man that threatened the safety of these synagogues was arrested Thursday after sending a manifesto online with threats to attack a synagogue and Jewish people, federal prosecutors say.
Omar Alkattoul, of Sayreville, is charged with transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce. Investigators performed a consensual search of Alkattoul’s iPhone on Friday to take a closer look at the threats.
Alkattoul sent out a link to a manifesto he’d been working on titled, “When Swords Collide,” in which he allegedly stated he planned to kill Jews as “an act of revenge” for the death of Muslims.
Alkattoul researched how to obtain a gun, shooting ranges, and mass shootings, and claimed that he imagined being al-Qaeda and carrying out an attack, according to the complaint.
The suspect allegedly told a user that the attack would involve bombings, shootings, and beheadings, and sent a video and photo montage of Dylann Roof to another social media user.
After his law enforcement interview, Alkattoul told ambulance workers he supports Isis and al-Qaeda and had plans to blow up a synagogue.
Derek Vargas, 19, is a neighbor who went to high school with the threatening suspect. He said Alkattoul made racist remarks and called himself a terrorist. However, no one took his allegations seriously because of his youth.
Alkattoul used social media to threaten a synagogue, and law enforcement moved in quickly to protect the community and prevent any deadly events from happening.