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"Likely to be hoaxes," says Delhi Fire chief after over 80 schools receive bomb threats

New Delhi: Director of Delhi Fire Services Atul Garg on Wednesday said that email bomb threats received by over 80 schools in the Delhi-NCR area today were most likely hoaxes.

Many schools sent their students home after receiving the threat mails that triggered panic among parents.

"We have received more than 80 calls in Delhi only. There were calls about bomb threats, and we responded to all the calls and sent fire tenders to all the locations. But some schools have started sending their vehicles back. I believe all these calls are likely to turn out to be hoaxes," Garg said.

Garg emphasized that it is critical to attend to every call, even if it might be a false alarm, as safety is the top priority.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said it appeared to be a hoax threat and that there was no need to panic.

"Every call was attended; we can't take chances with any call. If we receive a call, we have to attend to it. So, we attended all the calls. Since I received the information around 8 AM, I immediately alerted all the stations, and all the officers in our stations are ready to move wherever required. We have postponed other work," Garg said.

The Fire chief also appealed to the public to remain calm and assured them that the fire department is well-prepared to handle any emergency.

"There's no need to panic," he said. "We are fully prepared. As some schools have already sent their vehicles back, I think these calls are all false and likely the work of miscreants attempting to create panic," Garg said.

Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena said that he had sought a detailed probe from the Delhi Police Commissioner. He had earlier visited a school in north Delhi after news of the bomb threat.

Delhi Police's Special Cell has initiated an investigation but nothing suspicious has been found yet, said police officials.

According to sources the initial investigation revealed that that the email address, used to send the threat mail to over 80 schools in Delhi-NCR had a Russian domain. However, the Police are yet to ascertain whether the email actually originated from Russia.

The police is now tracking the IP address of the email address. Sources have told ANI that these kind of emails are usually send using a VPN connection to enable the sender to mask the original IP address.

The Cyber team is confident of tracing the IP address. Sources in the investigation team also say that the Dark Web could have been used to send the threat mail.

The Noida, Ghaziabad, and Delhi police are conducting a joint investigation to address the situation.

As news of the threats spread, the Delhi Government's Directorate of Education issued a statement confirming that no dangerous devices or suspicious activity were found in any of the affected schools.

Delhi Police PRO Suman Nalwa confirmed that nothing suspicious was found at any of the schools during investigation.

"Several schools have approached us that they have received an email regarding a bomb in their campus. Delhi Police has conducted search operations but nothing untoward has been found so far...It seems someone has done this to create panic...I just want to request the parents to not get panicked. We are conducting an investigation regarding the same," the Delhi Police PRO said.

Ravinder Yadav, Special CP, Delhi Police Crime Branch, said, "These emails were received in several schools. Some hospitals also received these emails yesterday. Thorough checking is going on. Bomb Disposal Squad, Dog Squad and fire tenders are present here...Even if it is a hoax call, we cannot take chances. We will conduct an investigation..."

All schools in Delhi-NCR to which threat emails have been sent have been closed as a precaution, and the children have been sent back. 

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