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University of Texas ‘confident’ alleged ‘Al Qaeda’ bomb threat a hoax

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, September 14, 2012 11:23 EDT
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The University of Texas tower. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
 
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Updated 12:22 p.m. central time: University issues all clear, buildings reopened

A University of Texas at Austin spokesperson said Friday morning that a man with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to be with Al Qaeda called in and said he placed bombs all over campus, prompting university officials to call for an evacuation.

“Evacuation due to threats on campus immediately evacuate all buildings get as far away from the buildings as possible,” the university’s official Twitter account said at 10 a.m. central time. “More to come.”

UT Communications director Rhonda Weldon reportedly told Austin’s KXAN that the man said the bombs would detonate in 90 minutes.

Update: North Dakota State University reports threat

North Dakota State University ordered an evacuation at 10:15 a.m. following a bomb threat. No further information was available.

Update: University of Texas says no bombs found

A University of Texas spokesperson tells The Associated Press that no bombs have been found. The university’s Twitter account said to expect another update at 10:45 a.m. central time.

Update: University says time specified in threat has passed

“Time specified in phone threat has passed but we have not yet cleared all buildings,” a post to UT’s Twitter account explained. “Decision to resume operations&classes will come shortly.”

A source on the University of Texas campus told Raw Story that hundreds of students are in the streets of downtown Austin awaiting further word on the threat. A heavy local police presence around the campus also appears to have snarled downtown traffic.

Update: Classes canceled, buildings clear

The University of Texas issued an all-clear moments ago, advising students and faculty that classes have been canceled for the day, but buildings will be reopened at noon.

Update: University plans press conference

University officials are planning a press conference for 12 p.m. central.

Update: UT ‘extremely confident’ campus is safe

University of Texas officials said at a press conference that after working with state and federal officials, they are “extremely confident” the campus is now safe. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell added that he’s “very gratified… that this threat has abated and things are going back to normal.”

UT President William Powers added that officials are “very confident” about the campus’s safety due to information they’ve obtained about the call itself, in addition to the physical search of the buildings.

This is a live video from Austin ABC News affiliate KVUE

 

This is a breaking news story and will be updated as more information becomes available…
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Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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