Bomb Threats Force Evacuation of Moscow’s Public Places

Local media reported that thousands of people were forced to evacuate Moscow’s Metropol hotel, GUM department store on the Red Square, Bolshoi Theater, and other public places on Sunday because of bomb threats.

Disruption was caused by a series of anonymous phone calls at train stations, public buildings, and shopping centers across Russia in the past two months. So far, the calls have been proven to be false alarms, and there have been no claims of responsibility.

Citing a source from the police, RIA news agency reported that as much as 5,000 people were evacuated from Metropol hotel and GUM. Also quoting police sources, TASS and RIA said that the Bolshoi theater was also evacuated.

A Reuters witness stated that police had cordoned off premises of GUM and Bolshoi.

TASS said that the evacuation was announced from Bolshoi before a performance was scheduled to begin at 1600 GMT.

The FSB security service’s head, Alexander Bortnikov, said last month that the authorities were aware of the identities of those people responsible, saying that they are four Russian citizens that are based abroad with “accomplices” inside Russia.