Jewish school bomb threats 'may have been linked to Hyper Cacher attack anniversary'

Police are currently investigating whether UK threats are linked to a rash of hoax bomb phone calls made to Jewish community centres in the US


The hoax bomb threats made to Jewish schools in the UK this week may have been timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the terrorist attack at a kosher grocery store in Paris that left four dead, security experts fear.

Police are also investigating whether there is a link between the threats in the UK and hoax bomb phone calls made to 19 Jewish community centres in the United States.

Jewish schools were put on emergency alert across the UK yesterday after police were told of three bomb threats being made over the telephone.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed they conducted thorough searches of schools in Brent, Ilford and Roehampton over fears that explosive devices had been planted on the premises.

The Community Security Trust took the decision to alert every Jewish school in the country over the terror threat until officers were satisfied the calls were a hoax.

A CST spokesman told the JC: “we certainly would not rule out the possibility for linkage between the threats in the UK and those in the States.”

The JC has also been alerted to fears that the threats were timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Hyper Cacher supermarket terrorist attack.

On January 9, 2015, two days after Islamist gunmen stormed the Paris office of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, terrorist Amedy Coulibaly entered the kosher store and killed four people before provoking an extended standoff with police.

A source confirmed: “It may not be a coincidence that Monday’s threats against Jewish schools in the UK and against Jewish institutions in America came two years after the terrible events in France.

“We don’t believe any of the calls made specific reference to the Hyper Cacher attack – but the timing of the threats may well be related to the anniversary.”

At one Jewish primary school children were told to adopt security measures used during an emergency situation.

Other schools were placed under temporary lock-down, meaning no one could enter or leave.

In a statement, CST confirmed: “A small number of Jewish schools across the country received bomb threats, as did a small number of non-Jewish schools.

"The Jewish schools followed security procedures, and CST and police immediately responded. All of the sites have been searched, and declared safe and secure. CST thanks school staff, pupils and parents for their calm response to these calls.”   

Schools also emailed parents to reassure them following the incidents.

In America, 19 Jewish community centres hosting nursery schools, senior citizens groups and reading and writing lessons, were targeted with similar threats.

No explosives were found but some of the centres were evacuated, including one in Miami where 450 students and 70 teachers were affected.

While some of the threats were made by live telephone calls others were received by pre-recorded “robocall” messages.

Calls were received by Jewish centres in states including Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Maryland and Delaware.

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