At least a dozen schools in Queensland have been evacuated following a series of emailed bomb threats.
New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, said a series of similar threats received in Sydney this week had originated in eastern Europe.
Following a briefing from the NSW police commissioner, Mick Fuller, Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney on Thursday that the emails, which prompted the evacuation of about 30 schools during HSC exams, had come from a single source.
“He’s allowed me to confirm that the initial email threats actually emanated from eastern Europe,” Berejiklian said.
At least a dozen Brisbane schools were evacuated on Thursday afternoon following a similar bomb threat.
In a notice to parents, the principal of Bray Park state high school, Peter Turner, said the school had undergone a “precautionary evacuation” after receiving emailed threats.
“This is occurring in several schools at present due to an email threat going around,” Turner said.
“All students are safe and police are doing a check now to ensure the school is safe for students to return to classes soon.”
Bribie Island high school posted a similar notice on Thursday afternoon, confirming it had also gone into lockdown following an “email threat”.
“The police will attend to investigate. The safety and welfare of your children and that of our staff is our upmost priority,” the school said in a message to parents.
Earlier, Berejiklian had confirmed the European link to the hoax emails, but said a threatening phone call received by North Sydney boys high school on Thursday is believed to be a local copycat incident.
“The police commissioner is confident that the incident at North Sydney is easier to trace, it was a local phone call … the police are already onto it,” Berejiklian said.
“The police are putting their full weight behind finding the culprit of this morning’s direct threat.”
On Wednesday detective superintendent Matt Craft described the emails as “fairly bland”.
“They indicate there is a device that has been located [on school property], but there are no demands,” he said.
The evacuations have caused major disruptions for HSC students at dozens of schools, and Craft said on Wednesday NSW police would introduce new protocols around bomb threats.
“There’ll be protocols that will be put in place between New South Wales police and Department of Education to mitigate against and reduce the impact of this type of activity,” Craft said.
Craft said the protocols would consider threats on a “case by case” basis, and that officers would consider conducting searches of HSC exam halls before deciding whether to evacuate students.