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19-year-old American-Israeli hacker convicted on making thousands of bomb threats around world

Crime
An Israeli-American teen was convicted in a Tel Aviv courtroom on charges related to making menacing phone calls. He also faces charges in the U.S. (Motortion/Getty Images)

A 19-year-old American-Israeli hacker was convicted Thursday of making thousands of bomb threats to "airports, schools and Jewish community centers,” around the world, according to published reports.

What did he do?

Michael Kaydar was arrested in March 2017 for making more than 2,000 menacing calls from 2014 to 2017, the New York Post reported.

Kaydar was convicted in Tel Aviv District Court on Wednesday, the Jerusalem Post reported.

What were the charges?

The charges included "extortion by threat, sending fraudulent messages, conspiring to commit crimes, penetration of computer material, money laundering, attacking a policeman, unlawfully carrying a weapon and other offenses," according to the Jerusalem Post.

Kaydar faces a long prison sentence in Israel and was also indicted on hate-crime charges by the U.S. Department of Justice. His extradition to the U.S. was postponed as he was tried in Israel, reports said.

He reportedly used high-level technology to hide his tracks, and used the “dark net” to offer payments for people to make threats aimed at his chosen targets. One of his ads “offered to send a customized threat to a school for $30, with a surcharge to have someone framed,” according to the New York Post.

His phone calls led to mass evacuations and caused planes to make emergency landings. He also had threatened to execute children he was holding hostage, according to reports.

Kaydar told psychiatrists he did it because he was bored, according to reports.

“I did it out of boredom; it was like a game. I understand that it is forbidden. I am sorry, I won’t do it again,” court papers stated. “I like to see people running around in panic.”

What was his defense?

Kaydar’s parents and lawyers argued that he had a brain tumor that caused mental problems that prevented him from being able to understand his actions, according to reports.

“He’s not guilty — it was the tumor,” his mother said in March.

However, Judge Zvi Gurfinkel rejected the argument that Kaydar was mentally unfit to stand trial.

“He very much understands the significance of his actions,” the judge said in reports.

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