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Morocco arrests suspect over bomb threats in Belgian schools

An individual suspected of threatening via email to bomb 15 Belgian schools was arrested in Morocco, a spokesperson for the Brussels prosecutor’s office said Tuesday.

“The person arrested, who has Moroccan citizenship, was questioned and confessed the facts to the Moroccan authorities,” spokesperson Yasmina Vanoverschelde said in a statement.

“The investigation’s initial findings show that the suspect does not have a terrorist motive,” Vanoverschelde added.

Thousands of students were unable to attend classes on Monday as close to 30 schools in the Brussels and Walloon Brabant regions were closed after some received bomb threats over the weekend, in which the sender said he would reveal the locations of the explosives in exchange for money.

After being checked by the authorities, all the schools reopened Tuesday, the regional school administration said in a statement.

“We can only deplore the growing number of alerts of this kind in recent weeks, and the difficulties they cause for everyone, especially families,” said Julien Nicaise, general administrator for the Wallonia-Brussels education board.

Bomb threats targeting schools have been on the rise in Belgium and neighboring France following the killing of a high school teacher in the northern French town of Arras, on October 13.

Earlier this month, two schools were evacuated in Belgium’s Wallonia region after a bomb threat, and more than 300 alerts were reported in France in the week following the end of school holidays on November 6.