A record number of Jewish institutions in the U.S. were targets of swatting incidents over the weekend, and the FBI believes they were coordinated attacks that originated outside the country.
The nonprofit group Secure Community Network (SCN) wrote in a press release on Saturday that it had tracked nearly 200 swatting incidents in the previous 24 hours, targeting Jewish facilities from states in the East Coast to as far as Hawaii.
“Swatting” involves calling 911 and faking an emergency that draws a response from law enforcement – usually a SWAT team.
Per an internal FBI memo obtained by ABC News, more than 30 of the FBI’s 56 field offices are investigating the string of false reports.
The FBI would not confirm the memo when reached by Fox News Digital. The bureau said it was “aware of numerous hoax incidents wherein a bomb threat at a synagogue is made.”
“The FBI takes threats very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk,” the FBI said.
SCN National Director and CEO Michael Masters called the swatting incidents “a major concern for the safety and security of the Jewish community in North America, as well as law enforcement.”
“It’s critical to recognize that these are not victimless crimes or innocent pranks: they can have real – and even deadly – consequences. We appreciate the arrests made to date, recognizing that the often sophisticated and anonymous nature of this activity makes these threats difficult to mitigate,” Masters said.
SCN said it has tracked more than 449 swatting incidents and bomb threats in 2023-to-date – a 541% increase from 2022.
Much of the increase has come in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks on Israel, in which militants killed 1,200 people and took 240 others hostage. SCN said it has logged record-high “security incidents” and “antisemitic activity” since then, with 772 in October and 634 in November – up 290% from the year prior.