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Hoax Bomb Threat Sent to Tree of Life Synagogue, Site of 2018 Tragedy

Hoax Bomb
Hoax Bomb Threat

Pittsburgh police are investigating a hoax bomb threat sent to the Tree of Life synagogue, the site of the 2018 mass shooting. This incident is part of a disturbing rise in antisemitic threats against Jewish institutions, as reported by the ADL.

Pittsburgh police are currently investigating a hoax bomb threat that was sent on Tuesday to the Tree of Life synagogue, the site of a devastating attack in 2018 that claimed 11 lives. A city police spokesperson confirmed that the threat was quickly identified as a hoax, consistent with a spate of similar threats targeting synagogues across the nation.

The threat, received via email late Tuesday morning, was swiftly deemed a hoax by law enforcement. “It was very quickly determined to be a hoax,” said police spokesperson Cara Cruz, highlighting the ongoing issue of such threats against Jewish institutions.

The Tree of Life synagogue was the scene of a hate-fueled attack on October 27, 2018, when Robert Bowers opened fire, killing 11 people and wounding seven others. Bowers was found guilty in June 2023 on 63 counts, including hate crimes, and has been sentenced to death. Authorities have not linked the recent hoax threat to the 2018 mass shooting.

This hoax bomb threat is part of a disturbing trend identified by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). In April, the ADL reported a dramatic increase in bomb threats to Jewish institutions in the U.S. last year compared to 2022. The ADL’s Center on Extremism documented 1,009 antisemitic bomb threats in 2022, 906 of which targeted synagogues. This is a stark rise from the 91 bomb threats logged in 2022.

The ADL attributes this surge to heightened tensions following the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas militants against Israel and the subsequent war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. The increased threats underscore the persistent and growing issue of antisemitism and the need for vigilance and security in Jewish communities.

As the investigation into the latest threat continues, it serves as a grim reminder of the enduring impact of the 2018 tragedy and the ongoing challenges faced by Jewish institutions in ensuring their safety.