The FBI has announced an “aggressive investigation” after dozens of bomb threats have been made against various institutions, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities and places of worship, this year.
From Jan. 4 to Feb. 16 alone, at least 57 institutions received bomb threats, either by phone, email, IM or online posts. Threats have been made against HBCUs, places of worship and other academic and faith-based institutions, according to the FBI.
“This investigation is of the highest priority for the Bureau and involves more than 20 FBI field offices across the country,” the FBI said in a statement. “These threats are being investigated as racially or ethnically motivated violent extremism and hate crimes.”
So far no physical evidence has been found yet, but the FBI is continuing to review electronic evidence and interviewing hundreds of people.
Many of the threats against HBCUs and houses of worship coincided with the beginning of Black History Month on Feb. 1, and it’s been a painful reminder of the past. In 1963, the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, was bombed, killing four young girls and injuring 20 other people.
Numerous HBCUs have closed down campuses for a few days while the threat is assessed. At least 20 FBI field offices across the country are working to identify the threats.
The FBI is asking citizens to help by reporting any suspicious activity or tips about potential threats to one of their local offices or to tips.fbi.gov.
“We recognize the fear and disruption this has caused across the country and we will continue our work to make sure people feel safe in their communities, schools, and places of worship,” the FBI said in their statement.