NJ man, 24, convicted of terrorism in attacks on synagogues


(JTA) — A 24-year-old New Jersey man was convicted of terrorism for vandalizing and firebombing synagogues and a rabbi’s home in 2012.

Aakash Dalal, of Lodi, also was convicted by the court in Bergen County on 16 other counts, including conspiracy to commit arson, attempted arson, bias intimidation, possession of a weapon and possession of a destructive device. The attacks took place in Bergen County.

Dalal, a former student at Rutgers University, has been jailed since he was arrested in March 2012. He will be sentenced on Dec. 21.

His former high school classmate Anthony Graziano also was found guilty of terrorism and 19 other counts in May for the anti-Semitic attacks in December 2011 and January 2012. Graziano also awaits sentencing.

Dalal has been called the mastermind behind the attacks and did not actually participate in them.

In one attack, Molotov cocktails thrown at Congregation Beth El in Rutherford set fire to a bedroom in the synagogue residence, where the rabbi’s family lived. The rabbi, Rabbi Nosson Schuman, was injured. He lives in the residence with his wife, five children and his parents, who were sleeping at the time.

At two other synagogues, Graziano spray-painted anti-Semitic epithets, including swastikas and “Jews Did 9/11.” Graziano allegedly was scared off an attack by an increased police presence.

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