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Cuomo condemns bomb threats at Jewish centers, orders investigation

Bomb threats were made against Jewish community centers and schools in at least 11 states, officials said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo met with religious leaders last week at the Museum of Jewish HerGetty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday ordered a state police investigation into bomb threats made against Jewish community centers in four communities in the state.

The attempted intimidation appeared to be part of a wave of bomb threats that occurred Monday against Jewish community centers and schools in at least 11 states, the JCC Association of North America said.

This marked the fifth wave of such threats this year that have stoked fears of a resurgence of anti-Semitism, the association said.

All of the bomb threats appeared to be hoaxes, officials said.

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In New York State, the threats were made against JCCs in Tarrytown, Staten Island, New Rochelle, and Plainview, the governor said.

"Make no mistake: these reprehensible and cowardly attacks are not limited to the Jewish community,” Cuomo said in a statement. “They are assaults on all New Yorkers and I vow that we will do everything in our power to catch those responsible for this wave of hate crimes.

The governor ordered the state police to work with federal and local law enforcement investigators.

“The full force of government will be brought to bear in these efforts and these perpetrators will be punished," Cuomo said.

RELATED: Trump concerned about attacks on Jewish cemeteries: White House

In addition to New York, threats were received in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia. For some centers, it was the second or third time this year that they had been forced to put their threat evacuation drill into practice.

"Members of our community must see swift and concerted action from federal officials to identify and capture the perpetrator or perpetrators who are trying to instill anxiety and fear in our communities," David Posner, a director at the JCC Association, said in a statement.

Jewish groups, President Donald Trump and Israeli officials have all condemned the surge in disruptive intimidation, as well as the vandalism of Jewish cemeteries. Police said on Sunday that about 100 headstones had been toppled at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia, about a week after a similar act of vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis.

Federal and local law enforcement were investigating the threats, but little information has been made public so far about any perpetrators.

Some Jewish groups see the vandalism and threats as a sign that anti-Semitic groups have been emboldened by Trump's election. His campaign last year drew the support of white supremacists and other right-wing groups, despite his disavowals of them.

Trump has said he is the "least anti-Semitic person" in the world, and noted that one of his daughters, his son-in-law and some of his grandchildren are Jewish.

Last week, the Cuomo administration announced among other measures a $25 million grant program to boost safety and security at New York’s schools and day care centers at risk of hate crimes or attacks because of their ideology, beliefs or mission.

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