By Steve Neavling
The FBI is investigating what appears to be a coordinated swatting spree that targeted nearly 200 Jewish institutions over the weekend, according to a confidential memo from the bureau’s top spokesperson.
The culprit seems to be based outside of the U.S., according to the memo obtained by ABC News.
“At this time, based on similar language and specific email tradecraft used, it appears the perpetrators of these threats are connected,” Assistant FBI Director Cathy Milhoan wrote in the memo. “Additionally, these threats appear to be originating from outside of the United States.”
Milhoan added, “To date, none of these email threats have involved any actual explosive devices or credible risk of harm to congregants.”
Of the 56 field offices across the country, more than 30 are investigating the threats.
The swatting incidents and false bomb threats amount to a “record number” of incidents, according to the Secure Community Network, a nonprofit that advises U.S. Jewish institutions on safety and security.
The most swatting incidents occurred in California with 93, followed by 62 in Arizona, 15 in Connecticut, five in Colorado, and four in Washington state, according to the nonprofit.
Swatting incidents have increased more than 540% from 2022, according to SCN. More than 449 swatting incidents and bomb threats occurred this year, the group said.
“The safety of all faith-based communities is one of the FBI’s highest priorities. Once again, thank you for your partnership and your collaboration to keep our communities safe,” Milhoan concluded in the memo.