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Austrian president evacuated following bomb threat

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Austria’s president and others in the presidency in downtown Vienna were briefly evacuated on Wednesday following a bomb threat, officials said. PHOTO:AFP

Austria’s president and others in the presidency in downtown Vienna were briefly evacuated on Wednesday following a bomb threat, officials said.

President Alexander Van der Bellen was among those brought to safety, according to his spokesman Reinhard Pickl-Herk.

“The president was at the presidency. He was warned and brought to safety. He is safe,” he told AFP.

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Police with sniffer dogs combed the sealed-off area, also including the nearby chancellery, but after one-and-a-half hours did not find any explosives.

“Everyone can return to the building,” a police spokesman, who declined to be named, told AFP.

Police received the bomb threat via email.

Vienna’s Hofburg, where the presidency is located, is a popular tourist attraction, normally teeming with people.

But because of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, the vast square framed by historic buildings has been mostly deserted since last month.

Van der Bellen, who comes from the Green party, was elected in 2016 when he defeated current far-right party leader Norbert Hofer.

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