Armenian capital orders evacuations amid widespread bomb scares after market blast

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Armenian authorities have ordered evacuations in the national capital of Yerevan following a widespread bomb threat on Sunday.

The bomb threat came just hours after an explosion rocked a downtown market, killing at least one person. Armenian media say the city received bomb threats against all city metro streaks, major military and civilian installations, shopping malls, the city zoo and Saint Grigor Lusavorich Church.

City police ordered widespread evacuations following the reported threats.

It is unclear whether the explosion at Surmalu market earlier on Sunday was related to the threats. The affected building was used to house fireworks, but authorities did not say whether that caused the explosion.

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Firefighters douse flames as smoke rises from Surmalu market about two kilometers (1.2 miles) south of the center of Yerevan, Armenia, Sunday August 14, 2022. A large explosion at a storage area of fireworks ravaged a market in the Armenian capital. At least one person was killed and twenty others were injured. Sunday’s explosion started a large fire. (Vahram Baghdasaryan/Photolure via AP)

Smoke rises from the Surmalu market about two kilometers (1.2 miles) south of the center of Yerevan, Armenia, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. A loud explosion hit a large market in the capital of Armenia, starting a fire and allegedly trapping people under the rubble.  The Interfax news agency quoted the Armenian emergency services as saying the blast happened at a building in Surmalu market where fireworks were sold.  (AP Photo/Daniel Bolshakov)

Smoke rises from the Surmalu market about two kilometers (1.2 miles) south of the center of Yerevan, Armenia, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022. A loud explosion hit a large market in the capital of Armenia, starting a fire and allegedly trapping people under the rubble. The Interfax news agency quoted the Armenian emergency services as saying the blast happened at a building in Surmalu market where fireworks were sold. (AP Photo/Daniel Bolshakov)

At least one person was killed in the market explosion and 20 others were injured. Rescuers at the scene said many people were trapped under the rubble.

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Bomb threats in Armenia are relatively common, with similar evacuations being reported in July and April.