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Dozens of Indian schools receive fake bomb threats

Nearly 100 schools were evacuated in the New Delhi region after receiving emails containing a word used by Islamic State

Nearly 100 schools in New Delhi and the surrounding region were evacuated on Wednesday after receiving “bomb threats.” Security has been ramped up in the Indian capital despite police describing the threat as a hoax.

The threats were sent from the email address “sawariim@mail.ru,” which is purportedly from a Russian domain, Indian media reported, citing sources. “Sawariim” is an Arabic word that means ‘clashing of the swords’, and has been used by Islamic State since 2014.

Police are investigating the origin of the emails, according to the Economic Times.

Vinai Kumar Saxena, the lieutenant governor of Delhi, claimed that the origin of the email account used to send the threats had successfully been established. It is suspected that the sender used a virtual private network (VPN) to mask the original IP address. 

The Indian Home Ministry described the threat as a “hoax” and urged people not to panic. Police and security agencies are “diligently following established protocols to address the situation,” it said.

Delhi Education Minister Atishi Marlena said police had sent a bomb squad to each school that received a threat, and thorough searches were carried out.

“We hope that the Delhi police will soon find out who sent this hoax email and from where,” she told the news agency ANI, adding that schools will operate normally from Thursday. However, they are likely to be monitored more closely, said the minister.

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Outside of Delhi, Amity School in Lucknow, the capital of neighboring Uttar Pradesh, also received a similar threat, the Hindustan Times reported. Police investigated the threat but did not find anything suspicious. The Indian Express noted that the threats had been received around 4am. At the same time, airports and hospitals in the country received similar threats in the past two days. 

The incident comes days after Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval called for broader cooperation to counter the misuse of information technology by extremists and criminals while speaking at the XII International Meeting of High-Level Security Officials in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. Addressing the meeting hosted by the Russian Security Council, Doval said broader cooperation on terrorism was needed at domestic and international levels.

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