More than 45,000 people have been evacuated from airports, schools, and government buildings across Russia over the last two days amid a wave of fake bomb threats that officials called unprecedented.
“There’s never been anything like this before — it’s 100 percent organized telephone terrorism,” Frants Klintsevich, deputy head of the Defense Committee in the upper house of Parliament, said in a telephone interview. “The only goal is to set off destructive processes, to sow panic. It’s possible this could be preparatory work for a serious terrorist attack.”
The official RIA Novosti news agency quoted an unnamed source in the security services as saying 45,000 people had been evacuated Tuesday from 205 buildings in 22 cities. Many were city halls, schools, and other official buildings.
More threats and evacuations were reported Wednesday, in cities ranging from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky in the Far East, across Siberia, to Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
The anonymous calls came from Internet dialing systems.