More than 20000 EVACUATED following bomb threats in Moscow

Bomb threat Some 20 sites are being cleared across the Russian capital including universities shopping centres and train stations

Bomb threat Some 20 sites are being cleared across the Russian capital including universities shopping centres and train stations

Authorities say they received "almost simultaneous" warnings that more than a dozen public places had been rigged with explosives, and chose to evacuate.

Anonymous callers made bomb threats to 12 shopping centers, four universities, and three railway stations Wednesday, prompting authorities to evacuate more than 15,000 people from those areas, according to The Telegraph.

Some 500 people were evacuated from the Kazanskiy and Leningradskiy stations.

Most searches in Moscow's buildings targeted by bomb alerts have proved the calls were hoaxes, a source with the capital's emergencies services told TASS on Wednesday.

Terrorists have earlier rocked Moscow on two occasions.

State TV channels did not appear keen on covering the threats, despite pro-Kremlin newspapers pointing to a "major hacking attack", possibly from Ukraine, the BBC reported yesterday.

"It seems like telephone terrorism and nothing else, but all the calls should be checked up", he said. Three more Siberian cities evacuated shopping malls, government offices, schools and hospitals. Also, students and teaching staff were evacuated from the Sechenov Medical University and MGIMO International Relations University. RIA said a total of 190 buildings in 17 cities were affected.

Neither the emergency services in Moscow nor the police could immediately confirm the incidents to AFP.

The spate of threats came after two days of similar calls caused disruptions in cities across Russian Federation, with the state-run RIA Novosti news service reporting some 45,000 people were evacuated nationwide.

Initial reports indicated that the evacuations might have been some kind of exercise.

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