Government Agency Evacuated After False Bomb Alert

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Hundreds of employees of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC) were evacuated on Thursday after a false bomb threat reported by the police.

Scores of security officers, rescue workers and firefighters were rushed to the central SRC office in downtown Yerevan after an unknown man called the police in the morning and claimed to have placed a bomb there. According to a police statement, the caller said the bomb will explode at 1 p.m. local time.

Security forces ordered the SRC staff to leave the building before searching it with sniffer dogs and special equipment. They found no explosive devices there and gave the all-clear by 3 p.m.

A police spokesman told RFE/RL afterwards that law-enforcements authorities are now trying to identify and track down the anonymous caller.

False bomb alerts have been periodically reported in Armenia since the late 1990s. In 2007, for example, the police briefly evacuated several government ministries, the Court of Cassation and even a public school in Yerevan in the space of several months. Only one man is known to have been arrested and prosecuted for deliberately making such claims.

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