Russian media said on Wednesday that authorities had ordered some 30,000 people to leave major buildings in Moscow after unknown telephone callers threatened bomb attacks across the city.
The evacuations affected the flagship department store GUM, which faces the Kremlin on Red Square while hoaxers said railway stations, airports, shopping centers, universities, hospitals and hotels in the Russian capital could be targeted.
Security sources said evacuation orders had also been made on Monday and Tuesday in dozens of cities across Russia, which affected about 45,000 people.
Officials have yet to comment on the mysterious fake calls and whether the callers had links to terrorist groups. Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Kremlin, also declined to comment on the issue.
Russia has been the target of major terror attacks since the country’s military started an operation in Syria to help the government in the fight against terrorism. Daesh, a Takfiri terrorist group which has many Russian nationals fighting along its ranks in Iraq and Syria, have claimed several attacks in Russia.
The Kremlin has faced criticism over its involvement in Syria as some say it has come at the expense of domestic security. Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly defended the campaign, saying it has mainly been aimed at preventing the return of thousands of Russian militants from Syria.
Russian intelligence services have managed to foil some plots by Daesh loyalists over the past months. The domestic intelligence agency FSB said in mid-August that it had busted a Daesh-linked terror cell working on a plot to launch attacks in Moscow. It said the group of four terrorists had been working on a major plot to carry out an attack targeting Moscow’s transit system and a shop.