Mayhem in Mississippi: Bomb threats across state raise alarms

MISSISSIPPI (WCBI) – Columbus’ synagogue received a bomb threat early Thursday morning, prompting an immediate response from local and federal law enforcement.

The rabbi at Temple B’nai Israel answered a call stating a bomb had been placed in the building.

Instead of calling 911, he immediately called the FBI.

They then joined forces with the Columbus Police Department.

Columbus Assistant Police Chief Garland Ward recounted what happened after that.

“Around 8:55 this morning, we received a call in reference to a bomb threat in the 700th block of Second Avenue North. We deployed, blocked off the area, and called in Homeland Security. They brought their bomb dog and did a sweep. And everything was clear. So everything is safe,” said Ward.

Similar threats were soon reported via email to the Tupelo Regional Airport, the Hattiesburg-Laurel Regional Airport, the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, and the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport.

These threats led to evacuations and thorough searches, disrupting operations and travel for several hours.

A traveler at the Gulfport-Biloxi airport said she didn’t know what to think.

“Of course, we asked what was going on and they wouldn’t tell us. They just said we had to wait here, that no one was allowed in,” she said.

Fortunately, no explosives were found, and operations at the airports have since returned to normal.

The FBI released an official statement to WCBI stating they were made aware of several bomb threat hoaxes and will continue working with various local law enforcement agencies to gather more information: “The FBI is aware of the numerous hoax incidents wherein a bomb threat was made at a Mississippi synagogue. The FBI takes hoax threats very seriously because it puts innocent people at risk. While we have no information to indicate a specific and credible threat, we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information as it comes to our attention. We urge the public to remain vigilant, and report any and all suspicious activity and/or individuals to law enforcement immediately.”

Law enforcement urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

We will continue to follow this story and bring you updates as they become available.

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