Former Rutgers Student Convicted of Carrying Out Terrorist Attacks on New Jersey Synagogues
A former Rutgers student was found guilty last week of committing a spate of terrorist attacks on New Jersey synagogues, NorthJersey.com reported.
According to the report, Aakash Dalal, 24, was convicted of 17 out of 20 counts — including bias intimidation, criminal mischief, aggravated arson and conspiracy to commit aggravated arson — in the indictment, for his masterminding of the attacks, which he carried out with the help of his classmate, Anthony Graziano, between December 2011 and January 2012. Graziano was convicted in May.
Dalal, who had been awaiting trial since his March 2012 arrest, vandalized and set fire to Jewish institutions in Maywood, Rutherford, Paramus and Hackensack.
In one 2011 attack, Dalal and Graziano spray-painted antisemitic messages on two synagogues, including a swastika and “Jews did 9/11.” In 2012, the pair attempted to torch the Temple K’hal Adath Jeshurun in Paramus, and Dalal firebombed Temple Beth El in Rutherford.
At Dalal’s trial, Temple Beth El’s rabbi testified that he awoke at around 4:00 a.m. to find his bed, carpet and window on fire. His wife at the time, five children, mother and father-in-law were asleep in the house, which is located next to the synagogue.
Prosecutors presented copies of instant-message chats between Dalal and Graziano in which they plotted attacks. These exchanges included discussions on how to make and effectively use Molotov cocktails; talk of their hatred of Jews; and links to reports of their attacks in the press. The messages were recovered from a laptop found in Graziano’s bedroom.
Prosecutors asked the judge to revoke Dalal’s $3 million bail, as he is facing a possible life sentence, the report said. His sentencing is scheduled to take place on December 21.