New York synagogues, museum got fake bomb threats, officials say

By David Shepardson and Maria Caspani

(Reuters) -At least three synagogues and a museum in New York received bomb threats on Saturday but none were deemed credible by the New York Police Department, a city official and police said.

Manhattan Borough President Mark D. Levine said on X the synagogue bomb threats were "a clear hate crime, and part of a growing trend of 'swatting' incidents targeting Jewish institutions."

"This is a clear effort to sow fear in the Jewish community. Cannot be accepted," he said.

Antisemitic incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment in the U.S. more than doubled last year to a record high as anti-Jewish sentiment spiked after the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October, the Anti-Defamation League said in a report last month.

A police spokesperson said a number of threats were received on Saturday, including an emailed bomb threat to the Brooklyn Museum and one to a synagogue in Brooklyn Heights, with no evidence of any explosive device detected.

Two synagogues in Manhattan also received bomb threats, including a West Side synagogue that prompted police to evacuate about 250 people, police said, with nothing found.

New York state Governor Kathy Hochul said on X state officials were "actively monitoring a number of bomb threats at synagogues in New York. Threats have been determined not to be credible."

Hochul added, "We will not tolerate individuals sowing fear & antisemitism. Those responsible must be held accountable for their despicable actions."

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Maria Caspani; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)