A New Jersey man is accused of posting an online threat last week to Jewish synagogues. Omar Alkattoul, 18, of Sayreville, was charged with transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce. Alkattoul was scheduled to first appear in court in Newark on Thursday afternoon. He will be represented by a federal public defender.
A criminal complaint filed in federal court explained that Alkattoul revealed his hatred of Jewish people and how much respect he had for racist mass murderer Dylann Roof. In 2015, Roof was charged for killing nine Black people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina. In 2017, he was the first person in the United States sentenced to death for a federal hate crime.
Alkattoul also said the attack he was planning was in retaliation for the 2019 mosque shootings in New Zealand. Alkattoul confessed to posting online: “God cursed the Jewish people and God should burn gay people.” He explained to investigators he had looked into shooting ranges, obtaining a gun and various mass shootings.
However, he claimed right before posting his threat he was unsure if he would actually carry out an attack. Alkattoul used social media to send a link to a document on November 1 called “When Swords Collide,” according to prosecutors, and explained to the person he sent it to that he wrote the document and: “It’s in the context of an attack on Jews.”
Alkattoul is believed to have sent the document to at least five other people using another form of social media. The online messages Alkattoul posted also revealed the statement that it would take him years to execute his plan. On November 3, the FBI issued a statewide alert and shared a suspect had been identified the next day.
However, they did not reveal his identity at that time. This announcement led to towns and cities all over New Jersey sending additional police officers to protect places of worship and schools. If Alkattoul is convicted, he could face up to five years in prison.