Almost all Budapest shopping malls and some in other parts of Hungary received bomb threats via e-mail on Tuesday, and the police had to evacuate the buildings in all instances to guarantee the safety of civilians.
It is possible that this was part of an international campaign that took place a day earlier in Belgrade, the capital of Serbia.
At first, the readers of 444 informed the news outlet that there was a bomb threat at the Arena Mall in Budapest on Kerepesi Street. The police arrived at the scene and evacuated everybody from the mall late afternoon on Tuesday.
One of Origo’s colleagues reported from Árkád that the mall played the following message through their loudspeaker:
“Due to a malfunction, the mall will close in a few minutes. Please follow the instructions of our staff members. Leave the building the shortest possible way, and leave your vehicles in the parking lot.”
Shortly after, many other shopping malls received the same message. The following shopping centres were affected in Budapest:
Four other establishments also received similar threats in Kaposvár, Győr, and Debrecen, where the directorate of MÁV (the leading railway company in Hungary) was also reported to be involved.
Magyar Hang managed to reach out to one of the employees of the regional malls involved, who wanted to remain anonymous but told the news outlet some details about the events on Tuesday.
The employee said that the message was sent to them via e-mail, and they must have received it as a Bcc or “blind carbon copy”, as the main addressee was the sender itself.
“The message came from a Gmail email address at around quarter past three in the afternoon. There is a Hungarian name in the e-mail address, but it is definitely fictitious. We received the letter in such a way that the sender addressed the letter to himself,” the employee told Magyar Hang.
“There is a bomb in the building. I cannot live in a country that is sponsoring the terrorist Putin and that places cheap gas before human life,” read the message.
The news portal tried to find out whether this was the same message that was sent to every mall, but the manager of one of the Budapest shopping centres only answered with a cryptic “it is possible”.
Magyar hang also inquired at the Hungarian Police Headquarters, but they answered that the investigation is still ongoing and that they cannot give out information in such cases.
However, there are a few possibilities. Szabad Magyar Szó reported that on Monday, several Serbian shopping malls, the Nikola Tesla Airport, and the company Air Serbia also reported that they received bomb threats from a Protonmail address, a company which is known for its secure and encrypted e-mail service.
Szabad Magyar Szó reported that the police found no signs of any explosives in the affected buildings. According to the information of the Serbian police, the threats might have come from within a European country and Ukraine.
The Hungarian Police similarly found no evidence of any explosives.
Magyar Hang reports that there is a possibility that the threats came from the secret service of Ukraine, but there is no hard evidence to support this. The so-called “false flag” tactic is also a possibility, but it could have simply been the effort of a simple citizen, the news outlet contemplates.
Source: Hang.hu, Origo.hu, Szmsz.press, 444.hu