A man from Morocco has been arrested and charged for allegedly making bomb threats against schools and public facilities in Ontario and Belgium. The suspect, whose identity has not been disclosed, is accused of sending threatening messages on November 1 and November 27, demanding money in exchange for information about the supposed explosives.
Ontario schools and facilities evacuated on November 1
On November 1, several schools and public facilities across northern and eastern Ontario received bomb threats via email, causing panic and disruption. The affected schools included those in the French Catholic and public school boards, as well as some colleges and universities. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said that no actual explosives were ever found, but many of the affected schools and facilities closed or evacuated as a precaution. The OPP said the threats included demands for money in exchange for information about the alleged explosives.
Belgian police arrest suspect in Morocco on November 27
On November 27, Belgian police arrested a man in Morocco in connection with another series of bomb threats against schools in Belgium. The Belgian authorities said they worked with the Moroccan police to locate and apprehend the suspect, who is also from Morocco. The Belgian police said the suspect used the same modus operandi as the one who targeted the Ontario schools and facilities on November 1.
OPP charges suspect with multiple counts of threats, mischief and extortion
The OPP said they have “strong reason” to believe that the man arrested in Morocco by the Belgian police was also responsible for the threats and major disruption in Ontario. The OPP said they have charged the suspect with two counts each of uttering threats, mischief and extortion in connection with the Ontario incidents. The OPP said they are consulting with the federal department of justice to figure out how the accused will appear before an Ontario court. The OPP said they cannot speculate on when or if the suspect will face charges in Canada, but they continue to investigate and work closely with the Belgian police.
Bomb threats raise concerns about security and cybercrime
The bomb threats that affected Ontario and Belgium have raised concerns about the security and safety of schools and public facilities, as well as the challenges of combating cybercrime. The OPP said they take these threats very seriously and will pursue all leads to identify and hold the perpetrators accountable. The OPP also urged the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities or communications to the police. The OPP thanked the public and the media for their cooperation and patience during the investigation.