Los Angeles -- Jewish Defense League leader Irv Rubin, jailed for allegedly plotting to bomb a mosque and an Arab-American congressman's office, was hospitalized Monday after trying to kill himself, a U.S. Marshal's Service spokesman said.
Rubin used a razor blade in the 6 a.m. suicide attempt and was undergoing surgery at a hospital five hours later, spokesman Bill Woolsey said.
Rubin was scheduled to appear in court Monday for a hearing in his case. There were conflicting reports about Rubin's condition.
His wife, Shelley, and son, Ari, told The Associated Press they were told by Rubin's lawyers that Rubin had died in surgery after slashing his neck with a razor and jumping over a railing as he was called out of his cell at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center. They said he fell up to 18 feet.
Bryan Altman, one of the attorneys, refused to confirm that account but said he would issue a statement later.
Laura Bosley, FBI spokeswoman, said agents were investigating it as a "crime in a government property'' and hadn't confirmed whether it was a suicide attempt.
"He sustained serious injuries,'' she said but wouldn't provide details.
Rubin and associate Earl Krugel were arrested Dec. 11 on charges of plotting to bomb the King Fahd mosque in suburban Culver City and an office of Rep. Darrell E. Issa, R-Calif. Rubin and Krugel were arrested after an FBI informant delivered an explosive powder that authorities believed was the last component in making pipe bombs.
The charges carry up to 40 years in prison upon conviction.
Rubin, who by his own account has been arrested more than 40 times, joined the JDL early in the 1970s and quickly moved up, becoming chairman in 1985.
In 1989, the leader of the rival Jewish Defense Organization was charged with firing shots at Rubin and wounding three others in New York. Mordechai Levy was convicted of assault.
According to his biography, Rubin learned to fight anti-Semitism while growing up in Montreal, "where some hotel owners and other business people hu ng signs reading 'No Dogs or Jews Allowed' on their doors and where French Canadian schoolchildren taunted him because he was Jewish.''
His family emigrated in 1961 and he became a U.S. citizen and joined the Air Force in 1966, serving four years.
In 1973 he served in Israel's civil defense corps during the Middle East war.
The JDL, whose symbol is a raised fist inside a Star of David, has the motto "Never Again,'' referring to the World War II killing of 6 million Jews. It was founded in 1968 by Rabbi Meir Kahane to mount armed response to anti-Semitic acts in New York City.
The group was suspected in a 1985 bombing in Santa Ana that killed Southern California Arab anti-discrimination leader Alex Odeh, but no arrests were ever made.
Kahane was assassinated in New York in 1990.