Schools in Australia, Europe get bomb threats

SYDNEY • Thousands of students were evacuated from schools in two Australian states yesterday following hoax bomb threats, with local media saying they could be linked to similar scares in Europe.

Several schools in New South Wales and Victoria reportedly received bomb threats and were either evacuated or locked down. A day earlier, more than 20 schools in Britain, France and Italy were placed on alert after receiving threatening phone calls, while six Paris schools and 14 in Britain were evacuated over hoax bomb threats on Tuesday.

The lockdown came a day after police raided two Melbourne homes belonging to the former wives of an Australian man, Mohomed Unais Mohomed Ameen, who appeared in a slick Islamic State in Iraq and Syria propaganda video promoting its Syria "health service" last year.

"Victoria Police can confirm it is treating the threatening phone calls received by a number of Victorian schools today as a hoax," the police said in a statement, without naming the schools or stating how many were affected.

"We are aware that schools in a number of other states and countries have received similar phone calls in the past 24 hours."

Meanwhile, French police yesterday questioned a man arrested with handguns and a Quran in his baggage at the Disneyland theme park in Paris, but stopped short of calling in anti-terrorism investigators.

The 28-year-old man, who police say is of European origin, was arrested on Thursday as he passed through security scanners at a Disneyland hotel.

A woman who had apparently been accompanying the man when he was detained was arrested at her home overnight after initially vanishing. She was also being held for questioning.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'Schools in Australia, Europe get bomb threats'. Print Edition | Subscribe