Thousands Evacuated in Russia Due to 'Telephone Terror'

Over the past two days, more than 45 thousand people were evacuated across Russian Federation following a wave of anonymous and false bomb threats.

The hoaxers' targets have included GUM, the flagship department store on Red Square that faces the Kremlin, as well as railway stations, airports, shopping centers, universities, hospitals and hotels.

That came a day after 45,000 people had been evacuated Tuesday from 205 buildings in 22 cities across Russian Federation in similar hoaxes, RIA reported.

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"This appears to be a case of telephone terrorism, but we have to check the credibility of these messages", an emergency service source told Tass news agency, noting that the calls began at the same time, and continued after the evacuations had begun.

Terrorists have earlier rocked Moscow on two occasions.

Many were city halls, schools and other official buildings, according to local news reports. Also, students and teaching staff were evacuated from the Sechenov Medical University and MGIMO International Relations University. Three shopping malls in Moscow also were cleared after calls reporting bombs, Tass reported.

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Largely, bomb threat calls were about Moscow's major shopping malls and Russian capital's three largest train stations - Leningradsky, Kazansky and Kievsky. RIA said a total of 190 buildings in 17 cities were affected. Security services told the RIA news agency that over 45,000 people were evacuated from public places in 22 Russian cities on Tuesday, adding that numerous calls appeared to have come from Ukraine.

Neither the emergency services in Moscow nor the police could immediately confirm the incidents to AFP. Initial reports indicated the evacuations might have been some kind of exercise.

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  • Ryan Wade