Investigation ongoing into synagogue bomb threats

| August 21, 2009

LONG BRANCH — Federal and local authorities are still seeking information about bomb threats that emptied three synagogues in Long Branch and Deal last week.

According to the Deal Police Department, on Aug. 4 at approximately 8:10 p.m. an anonymous telephone call was received reporting that bombs were about to explode in three local synagogues, according to a press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.

The three synagogues the caller identified are the Synagogue of Deal, located on Norwood Avenue in Deal, Congregation Brothers of Israel, located on Park Avenue in the Elberon section of Long Branch, and Ohel Simha Congregation, located on Park Avenue, also in Elberon, according to authorities.

The Synagogue of Deal was one of two synagogues with connections to the international money laundering scandal that rocked the local Syrian Jewish community last month.

All three synagogues were promptly evacuated and then searched by bomb squads from the New Jersey State Police and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office. No explosive devices were located and no one was injured as a result of the threat, according to the prosecutor’s office.

A joint investigation into the threat is being conducted by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the Long Branch Police Department and the Deal Police Department in conjunction with the FBI, the Monmouth County Office of Homeland Security, the New Jersey State Police and the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office.

Rabbi Edmund Nahum, the principal rabbi of the Synagogue of Deal, was arrested on July 23 in connection with a money-laundering scheme that allegedly saw him accept bad checks for a charitable organization, which he then allegedly cashed and passed along, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The head of the Synagogue of Deal is reported to be Isaac Dwek, the father of Solomon Dwek, the former real estate investor who has been widely reported to be the cooperating witness in the arrests of 44 individuals, including mayors and spiritual leaders, caught up in the government’s Operation Bid Rig III, according to authorities.

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, which is working on the investigation into the bomb threats, has not made any mention of a connection between the bomb threats and Operation Bid Rig III. Also involved in the investigation are the Deal and Long Branch police departments.

Anyone with information about the threats is asked to contact either the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 1-800- 533-7443, the Deal Police Department at 732-531-1113 or the Long Branch Police Department at 732-222-1000.

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Category: Synagogue/Jewish Security

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