Man arrested in connection to threat against New Jersey synagogues

Authorities on Thursday arrested a man accused of making a broad threat against synagogues in New Jersey that prompted a warning from the FBI last week.

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Federal officials said Omar Alkattoul, 18, was arrested on a charge of transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce.

Investigators said Alkattoul sent a document titled “When Swords Collide” to someone through a social media application on Nov. 1. He told the person that he wrote the document and that it was “in the context of an attack on Jews,” authorities said. The document also went to at least five other people, officials said.

On Nov. 3, the FBI warned that officials had “received credible information” about a “broad threat” against synagogues in New Jersey. They urged people to take security measures for their safety.

One day later, authorities confirmed that the source of the threat “no longer poses a danger to the community.”

During an interview last week with investigators, Alkattoul said that he wrote “When Swords Collide” while live action role-playing as an al-Qaeda leader. He earlier told authorities that it was possible that he planned to conduct an attack but later said he did not really want to, officials said.

Later, while being voluntarily transported to a hospital for an examination, he told ambulance personnel that he supported (ISIS) and al-Qaeda, according to a criminal complaint. He later said that “although some things he said on social media were a joke, one thing that was not a joke was his wanting to plan an attack on a synagogue.”

Alkattoul is scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.