Man charged in connection with online threat to synagogues

Nov 10, 2022, 10:00 AM | Updated: 2:11 pm
Hoboken Police officers stand watch outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022...

Hoboken Police officers stand watch outside the United Synagogue of Hoboken, Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022, in Hoboken, N.J. The FBI says it has received credible information about a threat to synagogues in New Jersey. The FBI's Newark office released a statement Thursday afternoon that characterizes it as a broad threat. The statement urged synagogues to "take all security precautions to protect your community and facility."(AP Photo/Ryan Kryska)

(AP Photo/Ryan Kryska)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man accused of posting a broad online threat last week that spurred heightened security at Jewish synagogues and schools in New Jersey expressed admiration for white-supremacist mass murderer Dylann Roof and said his planned attack was in retaliation for the 2019 mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand, federal prosecutors said in announcing a criminal charge Thursday.

Omar Alkattoul, 18, of Sayreville, is charged with transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce and was scheduled to make his initial court appearance in Newark on Thursday afternoon, where he will be represented by a federal public defender. That office generally does not comment on cases.

Alkattoul could face up to five years in prison if convicted.

According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court, Alkattoul expressed hatred of Jews and admitted posting online that “God cursed the Jewish people and God should burn gay people.” He also told investigators he had researched how to obtain a gun, shooting ranges, and mass shootings but in the days before posting his threat was “about ’50/50′” on whether he would actually carry out an attack.

Alkattoul allegedly discussed his plan to kill as “an act of revenge” for the death of Muslims, authorities said. They have previously said they did not believe he had the means to carry out any specific attack.

In a series of online messages, Alkattoul said it would take him years to plan and gather resources to carry out an attack and that it would be in retaliation for the Christchurch attacks that killed more than 50 people, according to the complaint.

About Roof, who killed nine members of a Black South Carolina church congregation in 2015, Alkattoul allegedly said in a private online message that “a lot of Muslims in the west should learn from him.”

Alkattoul used a social media app on Nov. 1 to send a link to a document entitled “When Swords Collide,” according to prosecutors, and he admitted to the person he sent it to that he wrote the document, stating: “It’s in the context of an attack on Jews.” According to the second individual, Alkattoul also sent the document to at least five other people using another social media application.

The FBI issued a statewide alert on Nov. 3 and announced a suspect had been identified the next day, but they did not identify him at that time. The warning prompted some municipalities across the state to send extra police officers to guard houses of worship and schools.

Public warnings about nonspecific threats against Jewish institutions, made by groups including Christian supremacists and Islamist extremists, aren’t unusual in the New York City area, and many turn out to be false alarms.

But the area has also seen deadly attacks, including the firebombings of two synagogues and an attack on a rabbi’s home in 2012, a fatal stabbing at a Hanukkah celebration in 2019, and a shooting in 2019 that killed three people in a kosher market and a police officer.

Outside the New York City region, the massacre that killed 11 people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh four years ago left an indelible mark.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A protester holding flowers is confronted by a policeman during a protest on a street in Sha...
Associated Press

At Shanghai vigil, bold shout for change preceded crackdown

SHANGHAI (AP) — The mourners in Shanghai lit candles and placed flowers. Someone scrawled “Urumqi, 11.24, Rest in Peace” in red on cardboard — referring to the deadly apartment fire in China’s western city of Urumqi that sparked anger over perceptions the country’s strict COVID-19 measures played a role in the disaster. What started as […]
1 day ago
FILE - A worker rides a rail car at a BNSF rail crossing in Saginaw, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 20...
Associated Press

Rail workers say deal won’t resolve quality-of-life concerns

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When BNSF railroad conductor Justin Schaaf needed to take time off from work this summer, he had to make a choice: go to the dentist to get a cavity in his molar filled or attend a party for his son’s 7th birthday. He chose his son. “Ultimately I decided to take […]
1 day ago
FILE - Web designer Lorie Smith is shown in her office on Nov. 7, 2022, in the southwest part of Li...
Associated Press

Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being warned about the potentially dire consequences of a case next week involving a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for same-sex couples. Rule for the designer and the justices will expose not only same-sex couples but also Black people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims and others […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: December 3, gas disaster in Bhopal

Today in History Today is Saturday, Dec. 3, the 337th day of 2022. There are 28 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 3, 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India. On […]
1 day ago
FILE - John Duarte, a Republican candidate in California's 13th Congressional District, arrives at ...
Associated Press

GOP’s Duarte takes California Central Valley US House seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray on Friday in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte has just over 50% of the vote. Gray conceded in […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Family seeks answers after police kill man on his own porch

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The family of an Austin, Texas, man is seeking answers after he was fatally shot by police last month on his front porch following a late-night emergency call by a neighbor. Video and audio released Thursday show Austin police officers arrived Nov. 15, yelled “drop your gun,” then fired at Rajan […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Man charged in connection with online threat to synagogues