Bomb threats target Jewish centres in US
WASHINGTON: Nearly a dozen Jewish community centres across the US received bomb threats that led to evacuations on Monday, in the latest wave of such attacks since Mr Donald Trump became president a month ago.
The latest phoned-in threats, at 11 separate sites, bring to 69 the total number of such incidents - at 54 Jewish community centres in 27 US states and one Canadian province - according to the JCC Association of North America.
It cautioned, however, that all bomb threats made on Monday, as well as on three others dates - Jan 9, 18 and 31 - turned out to be hoaxes, and all targeted community centres have resumed normal operations.
The FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division are said to be investigating the incidents.
Meanwhile, local media reported that more than 100 headstones were damaged at a Jewish cemetery in St Louis, Missouri.
"Over the past weekend, unknown persons knocked over multiple monument headstones within the cemetery," University City police said in a statement.
Police declined to confirm the number of damaged headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery as they review video surveillance on the property and nearby businesses for the ongoing investigation.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks extremism, said in a recent report that the number of hate groups is rising and is now at near-historic highs, linking it to the surge in "right-wing populism" during a bitterly fought presidential election that "electrified the radical right" and ultimately elected Mr Trump.
The Trump administration denounced the latest incidents.
Mr Trump's daughter Ivanka, a convert to Judaism, was quick to denounce the bomb threats.
"America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance.
"We must protect our houses of worship & religious centers. #JCC," she tweeted. - AFP