By Holmes Lybrand and Jack Forrest, CNN
(CNN) — A Utah man was arrested after allegedly making threats against a pro-Palestinian group in the US, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Court records say Kevin Buchanan of Tooele, Utah, called a Palestinian rights group in Washington, DC, and left multiple threatening voicemails, saying: “We know who you are, who your families are” and “You’re gonna die.”
Buchanan has been charged with transmitting interstate threats and could face a maximum of five years in prison if convicted. No attorney is listed on his public court docket.
“This is a war against Islam,” Buchanan allegedly said in one of the numerous, lengthy voicemails. “Palestinians are going to die. By the hundreds of thousands.”
Officials at the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have warned of the increase in threats against Muslims and Jewish people in the US amid the war between Israel and Hamas, which erupted after the militant group’s deadly October 7 attacks and Israel’s subsequent military campaign in Gaza.
According to court documents, agents tracked the phone number associated with the threats and found it was associated with a non-contract cell phone purchased at a Walmart in Utah with a credit card belonging to Buchanan.
Authorities arrested Buchanan on Friday.
The nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group this month said the US is experiencing an “appalling” rise in reported anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bias incidents in the month since the October 7 attacks. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has recorded a 216% increase in requests for help and reported bias incidents compared with the previous year, and Muslim and Arab Americans tell CNN the surge has forced them to become more vigilant.
A week after Hamas’ attack, authorities said a Chicago-area landlord stabbed and killed a 6-year-old Palestinian American boy and seriously injured his mother, allegedly because the tenants are Muslim. The landlord has pleaded not guilty to charges including murder and hate crimes.
And earlier this month, a man was charged for a hate crime for allegedly ripping the hijab off a Muslim postal worker before attacking her.
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