New Jersey teen admits posting broad online threat to synagogues

A Sayreville, New Jersey man admitted to posting a broad online threat last year that spurred heightened security at synagogues and Jewish schools in the state.

Omar Alkattoul, 19, pleaded guilty Wednesday to transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce. He faces up to five years in prison when he's sentenced Nov. 14.

According to federal prosecutors, Alkattoul expressed hatred of Jews and admitted posting online that "God cursed the Jewish people and God should burn gay people." 

He also told investigators he had researched how to obtain a gun, shooting ranges and mass shootings, but in the days before posting his threat was "about ‘50/50’" on whether he would actually carry out an attack.

Authorities have said they did not believe Alkattoul had the means to carry out any specific attack.

Timeline of events

Alkattoul used a social media app on Nov. 1, 2022, to send a link to a document entitled "When Swords Collide," according to prosecutors, and he admitted to the person he sent it to that he wrote the document, stating: "It’s in the context of an attack on Jews." According to the second individual, Alkattoul also sent the document to at least five other people using another social media application.

The FBI issued a statewide alert on Nov. 3 and announced a suspect had been identified the next day, but they did not identify him at the time. The warning prompted some municipalities across the state to send extra police officers to guard houses of worship and schools.

AP wire services helped contribute to this report.