Thousands of students were evacuated Friday from several schools in Australia following “numerous bomb threats” were made to them as they opened after a long Christmas holidays, sparking multiple police operations.
Several schools New South Wales and Victoria were evacuated and went into lockdown after receiving bomb threats this morning, police said. However, they turned out to be hoax hours later, they said.
The threats came on the first day of the opening of the schools after the long Christmas break, leading to multiple police operations, media reports said.
Seven schools in New South Wales (NSW) went into lockdown following threats. Local police confirmed schools in Penrith, Richmond, Mona Vale, Ambarvale, Woolooware, Ulladulla and Lake llawarra were affected.
Victoria Police said they were aware schools in a number of other states and countries had also received similar phone calls in the past 24 hours, ABC news reported.
But police later said they were “satisfied that there are no imminent threats to schools”.
“Victoria Police can confirm it is treating the threatening phone calls received by a number of Victorian schools today as a hoax,” they said in a statement.
A police investigation into the origin of the calls is ongoing, but police said they were not terrorism-related. Police said they launched operations in Victoria, after threatening phone calls were made to at least four schools.
Rodney McKenzie, assistant principal at the school, said a receptionist received a “computerised call”.
“It was a computerised message, like a robot speaking,” McKenzie said.
“It said there was a bomb located in the school in a backpack,” he said.
He said the school’s 553 students, including new prep students, were evacuated to the nearby cultural centre, Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“Police have inspected the school and there’s no perceived threat, but students won’t be returning to school today,” he said.
“Police are aware of numerous threats made to schools in the Metropolitan and Southern Regions. Investigations are continuing, and police are liaising with the Department of\ Education,” a police statement read.
The NSW Department of Education statement said each school was taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of its students and no students were in danger.
At least four Melbourne schools were also evacuated after receiving threatening phone calls.
“The schools are being evacuated as a precaution,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
Australia has raised the terror threat alert level to high in September 2014, with the government passing a series of national security laws and police conducting numerous raids across the country.