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Suspect arrested in Morocco after school bomb-threat scares in Ontario, Belgium

Click to play video: 'Numerous Ontario schools receive bomb threats'
Numerous Ontario schools receive bomb threats
Police in Ontario are investigating after bomb threats were called in to a number of Ontario schools, prompting warnings and evacuations. The total number of schools impacted on Wednesday was not clear. – Nov 1, 2023

Ontario Provincial Police say an individual believed to be responsible for bomb threats towards several Ontario schools earlier this month has been arrested in Morocco.

The suspect is also believed to have been responsible for threats in Belgium that saw at least 27 schools in Brussels and a neighbouring region shut down on Monday.

On Nov. 1, multiple schools and other public facilities in Ontario received threatening messages, indicating that bombs had been placed at their locations, police said.

Police report the threats also included a demand for money in exchange for details about the alleged explosives. No actual explosives were ever found.

On Thursday, OPP announced an individual was arrested in Morocco in connection with a series of bomb threats against schools in Belgium earlier this week and that police believe the cases are connected.

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“The investigation in this province, by the Ontario Provincial Police Criminal Investigation Branch, has given investigators strong reason to believe the individual from Morocco was also responsible for the threats and major disruption here in Ontario,” provincial police said in a statement.

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According to media in Belgium, the threats included a demand of 10 million euros to reveal the location of five bombs. Officials there say the suspect “admitted the deeds to the Moroccan authorities” and that so far there is no evidence suggesting any “terrorist motives.”

In Ontario, the Criminal Investigation Branch, working with the OPP Cybercrime Investigations Team, continues to investigate and will be working closely with Belgian police.

OPP say they cannot speculate on when or if the individual will face charges in Canada.

The total number of schools impacted by bomb threats on Wednesday, Nov. 1 was not clear, but OPP said the threats stretched from parts of the north to the east.

Bomb threats were also reported by other police forces in the province, including in Toronto and Halton Region.

Bill Dickson, OPP media relations manager, told Global News earlier this month in an email that most of the impacted schools were in the north of the province.

“The threats had impacted schools across northern Ontario, so as far north as the province stretches. In the east, to the Quebec border,” Dickson said in an email.

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With files from Reuters and Global News’ Isaac Callan.

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