The Indian Embassy here received a bomb threat call this morning following which its premises, the chancery and Ambassador Nirupama Rao's residence all had to be temporarily evacuated and searched.
Rao was not in Washington when the bomb threat call was received, sources said, adding about 130-140 people were inside the Embassy at the time and all are safe. Investigations by US security agencies were underway.
"There was a bomb threat at the Indian Embassy in Washington earlier today. Appropriate law enforcement personnel responded immediately," the State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.
All three of the Indian official locations in Washington have now been cleared--the Chancery, the ambassador's residence and the visa office -- and no device was located," Nuland said responding to questions on the bomb threat call.
Embassy sources said the bomb threat call was received sometime before 10-30 a.M. The caller said that a bomb has been placed in the toilet of the Embassy.
As a precautionary measure the embassy premises was quickly evacuated and local police authorities were informed, who arrived at the scene immediately. A thorough search was immediately conducted.
"Nothing was found," sources in the Embassy said.
Nuland said all the three Indian properties in Washington DC were "evacuated and checked" after the bomb threat call.
"Security officials have declared them (premises) cleared," she said. An investigation is on to trace the caller.
"I think there'll be an investigation, obviously, and we'll see what that leads to," she said.
"I would guess that part of our evaluation going forward in terms of what happened will be to determine whether the security posture is adequate," Nuland said when asked if the incident would lead to increase in security in and around the Embassy premises in Washington.
Roads in the periphery of the Embassy premises were temporarily closed as authorities conducted precautionary checks and sweeps in the area.
Bomb Scare at Indian Embassy in Washington
Lalit K Jha/Washington
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