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Bomb threat sows panic in Brussels EU quarter

March 20, 2019

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Brussels: Police and firefighters secure an area after the bomb alarm in a building near the European Commission’s headquarters.—Reuters
Brussels: Police and firefighters secure an area after the bomb alarm in a building near the European Commission’s headquarters.—Reuters

BRUSSELS: A “telephone bomb threat” temporarily forced the evacuation of some 40 people from a building close to the EU Commission on Tuesday.

Police sealed off the street and had it checked for explosives, but reopened it after a thorough check with sniffer dogs.

Police said the bomb threat was sent to a company linked to the EU. The company was a consulting office linked to the EU’s executive Commission but did not name it.

Another news agency reported that part of the European quarter in Brussels was evacuated on Tuesday, just two days before a European summit following a bomb threat to a lobbying firm.

The call was received by GPLUS, a public affairs and strategic communications consulting firm located across from the offices of AFP.

The office is also a few dozen metres from the UK permanent representation where staff, hard at work on Brexit, were ordered to remain indoors.

“I evacuated the offices and notified the police,” GPLUS executive Thomas Barros-Tastets said.

The alert was lifted shortly after 1pm, two hours after the intervention began.

Belgian police and the fire brigade mobilised significant resources, including a team to evacuate potential victims as quickly as possible.

The perimeter was sealed off, building residents confined and police sniffer dogs inspected vehicles parked in the area.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2019