A Yerevan metro station evacuated after a bomb threat

False Bomb Threats Continue to Come in as Suspect Arrested

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YEREVAN (Armenpress/Azatutyun) — Police on Tuesday, August 16, identified and arrested the person who made the fake bomb threats targeting various buildings in Yerevan and in Gyumri in the recent days.

Police said a 63-year-old citizen of Gyumri told the local police department that he made the hoax bomb threats while intoxicated.

An investigation is underway.

On August 14, at around 5 p.m., the National Center for Crisis Management received information about explosive devices installed in all metro stations, important military and civilian facilities, in all shopping malls, in the zoo, at Baghramyan 19, in St. Grigor Lusavorich Church.

On August 16, Yerevan’s metro service was again suspended as security workers searched for possible explosive devices there after another bomb threat that later proved false.

The Yerevan municipality said engineering teams with bomb-sniffer dogs had been deployed to conduct searches at several metro stations.

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The Ministry of Emergency Situations later said no explosive devices were found. The metro resumed its work in the afternoon.

This is the second false alert in the last three days about a bomb or bombs having been planted in the metro.

On Sunday, hours after a deadly explosion and fire at the Surmalu shopping center in Yerevan, Armenia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations also received bomb threats concerning multiple other facilities in the capital, including the metro.

Passengers were evacuated and the work of the metro was then suspended for several hours.

Eventually, the bomb threats reportedly received via email proved false. The National Security Service launched an investigation into the false alerts apparently made from outside Armenia.

An official at the Ministry of Emergency Situations told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Monday that since the beginning of this year they have received over 30 false bomb alerts – a four-time increase over last year.

Topics: Bomb threats

Harutyun Chebeyan, who manages a shift at the ministry’s National Crisis Management Center, said bomb threats received by e-mail mostly concern important transport hubs, such as the Yerevan metro and the Zvartnots international airport near the Armenian capital.

Evacuation of people in response to bomb threats have caused discontent about inconveniences among commuters and visitors of shopping centers in Yerevan in recent months.

But the official said that even though all previous bomb threats eventually proved to be false, security and emergency services have to respond to them and take action every single time.

Amid the spike in the number of false bomb alerts in recent months, Armenia’s National Security Service on Monday called on the media and citizens “to refrain from publishing unverified information and comments on the Internet about the threat of terrorist attacks in Armenia and to use only official reports in order to avoid unnecessary panic among the population.”

Cybersecurity expert Samvel Martirosyan said that email alerts about explosive devices are often sent during crisis situations similar to the shopping center explosion in Armenia.

 

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