Another Bomb Alert Turns Out False

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–The personnel of the Armenian ministries of privatization and energy were evacuated on Monday minutes after an anonymous caller warned of a bomb planted inside the building in central Yerevan hosting the two government agencies. But a police unit that immediately examined the building found no explosives.

The false alert came exactly one week after police found a minor explosive device in the parliament chamber–the scene of a bloody attack on October 27 in which Prime Minister–parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and six other officials were gunned down. An employee of the privatization ministry told reporters that an unidentified man phoned her in the early afternoon and told "with a calm voice" about the "bomb."

"I again evaluate this as hooliganism," said a deputy minister of interior–Hovannes Varian. He said if identified–the caller will be prosecuted. Privatization Minister Pavel Ghaltakhchian suggested that the alert may have been made by unspecified forces that are keen to "destabilize the situation" in Armenia–which is still recovering from the shock assassinations. Many deputies came up with a similar theory last week following the discovery of the explosives in the parliament.

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