BEIRUT: A bomb threat at the Justice Palace Thursday forced a complete evacuation of the building and halt to judicial proceedings there.
The evacuation was prompted by a phone call to the office of the criminal court warning of a bomb inside the building ready to explode.
Both courts and investigations in progress came to a standstill as detainees were returned to their cells making way for security forces to inspect the premises.
A team from the criminal evidence department and bomb experts along with security forces searched the entire building using bomb detectors and police dogs for three hours.
No explosives were found.
A judicial source told The Daily Star that the hoax could have been made by a relative of one of the detainees in order to postpone the court hearing.
The state prosecutor launched an investigation into the incident and asked investigators to trace the source of the call, determine the caller’s identity and arrest them.
This is the third time hoax bomb threats have been made to the Justice Palace. In March 2011, the palace was evacuated after an individual called in a bomb threat in what is believed to have been an effort to adjourn a trail due to take place at the venue.
In previous instances, the callers were identified and arrested.