In Texas, a bomb threat was called in by a man who claimed to be with al-Qaeda.
Thousands of people streamed off university campuses in Texas and North Dakota on Friday after phoned-in bomb threats prompted evacuations and officials warned students and faculty to get away as quickly as possible. No bombs were found on either campus by early afternoon and it was not clear whether the threats were related.
The University of Texas received a call about 8:35 a.m. from a man claiming to be with al-Qaeda who said he had placed bombs all over the 50,000-student Austin campus, according to University of Texas spokeswoman Rhonda Weldon. He claimed the bombs would go off in 90 minutes and all buildings were evacuated at 9:50 a.m. as a precaution, Weldon said.
The deadline passed without incident, and the university later issued advisories saying all buildings had been cleared and were reopening by noon. Classes were canceled for the remainder of Friday, but other university activities were to resume by 5 p.m.
North Dakota State University President Dean Bresciani said 20,000 people were evacuated from his school’s main and downtown campuses in Fargo after the school received its bomb threat Friday morning. Officials did not immediately release details about the North Dakota threat, and its evacuation remained in place by early afternoon.
Other than a police presence from local law enforcement agencies, not much seemed amiss on the Valparaiso University campus late Friday morning, just hours after university officials announced an unspecified threat was made through a graffiti message alluding to dangerous and criminal activity alleged to be carried out during chapel break.
No classes or programs on campus were cancelled, and the Valparaiso University Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and local police did not find anything suspicious during a human and canine search of campus.
Schools weren’t the only facilities that were evacuated today though. A nuclear reactor facility was also evacuated.
A research facility at the University of Texas in Austin that houses an active nuclear reactor has been evacuated after a man with a middle eastern accent claiming to be a member of Al-Qaeda warned authorities the campus had been booby-trapped with explosives.
“The university received a call from a male with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to have placed bombs all over campus. He said he was with Al Qaeda and these bombs would go off in 90 minutes. President Powers was notified and it was decided to evacuate all of the buildings out of an abundance of caution,” reports We Are Austin.com.
There was no incident 90 minutes after the call was made, suggesting the bomb threat was a hoax.