An Israeli teenager charged this week with making more than 2,000 hoax bomb threats to schools, Jewish centres, hospitals and airlines in five countries is alleged to have been behind 591 bomb threats against schools in Australia, Victoria police have confirmed.
The 18-year-old is alleged to have robo-called schools in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory in January 2016.
The calls were linked to the evacuation of more than 20 schools at the start of the 2016 school year and prompted an international investigation, led in Australia by the Victorian police e-crime squad.
The teen, identified in US court documents as Michael Kadar despite a suppression order against revealing his identity in Israel, was arrested by Israeli police last month and charged on Sunday with making hoax threats to schools and centres in the United States, Britain, New Zealand and Israel, as well as Australia.
The FBI has applied to extradite Kadar to the US, but the application has been refused.
A spokeswoman for Victoria police said Israeli police who made the arrest acknowledged that “they could not have done it without us”.
“The Victoria police e-crime squad provided vital cyber evidence which resulted in the arrest of the Israeli suspect,” she said.
On Thursday, Victoria police arrested another 17-year-old boy in relation to a separate spate of bomb threats made between May 2016 and April 2017.
The boy is alleged to have made 74 hoax threats: nine against schools in Victoria, 13 against schools in NSW and 49 against schools in South Australia.
He appeared in court on Thursday and was bailed to reappear in June.
That arrest followed a joint investigation by the Victorian e-crime squad, the NSW fraud and cybercrime squad, and SA electronic crime detectives.
“The states will continue to work together to investigate cyber and high-tech crime and the teams are dedicated to reducing these types of incidents,” Snr Sgt Sharon Darcy said.