Teen in Israel may be connected to bomb threats in Georgia

A 19-year-old man arrested in Israel for bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers in the U.S. and other countries has now been linked to bomb threats against Clarke County.

Athens-Clarke County police said evidence collected in Israel connected the unnamed man to eight school bomb threats in Athens.

“A search warrant was initiated in Israel on a separate incident and evidence attained from that search warrant led back to here in Athens to our eight bomb threats here in Athens,” said Epifanio Rodriguez, spokesman for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

He said the bomb threats against the eight public schools were made between August and October in 2015.

The schools included Barrow Elementary, Whitehead Elementary, Timothy Road Elementary, Hilsman Middle, Winterville Elementary, Clarke Central High and Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle and Cedar Shoals High School.

“My older daughter was here a couple of years ago so I remember the bomb threats being called in then they had to evacuate the schools,” said Ashley Rentz, whose daughter attended Cedar Shoals High when a bomb threat was called in.

Athens Clarke County police referred to the school bomb threats as swatting because the 911 calls summoned the swat team.

“Some of them were made from a person just calling. We did have some where it did seem to be a computerized voice calling into these schools. There was threats to harm the children. There was threats along the line that there would be bloodshed,” said Rodriguez.

Ashley Rentz wondered why Athens?

“How did he pick Athens, Georgia and our schools here? That's a big question. It is a big question. I have no idea why,” said Rentz.

Athens-Clarke County police said they do not know why Athens’ schools were the targets of bomb threats either. Nor can they say if the man arrested in Israel who has been linked to the bomb threats in Athens and across the globe was even in the Georgia city.

“We don't know what connects him to Athens. Nothing that we have right now can place him in Athens or why he would be targeting Athens Schools,” said Rodriguez.

He said the 19 year old faces felony charges of making terroristic threats for the Athens bomb threats.

Rodriguez said the FBI was called in when the bomb threats was on going in 2015.

Rodriguez said it's unclear if the man would be brought to Georgia to face the eight felony counts here.

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