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Almost 20 Victorian schools evacuated and locked down due to threatening calls.

Close to 20 Victorian schools were evacuated or locked down today after they received phone calls threatening bombings and shootings.

Victoria’s Deputy Premier James Merlino said the “anonymous cowards” behind the calls will “feel the full force of the law”, News Limited reports.

“We are taking these calls very seriously,” he said.

Mr Merlino said emergency management plans at affected schools were implemented and parents were notified, though most schools had resumed their regular schedules.

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the calls were automated and one recording used an American accent, indicating an international aspect to the hoax calls.

He said they were linked to last week’s threats and were not considered a terrorist-related event, but were being investigated by Victoria Police and the Australian Federal Police.

The threats – which were also made to several Queensland schools today — come after hundreds of students in Victoria and New South Wales were evacuated after a bomb hoax on Friday.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report to www.crimestoppers.com.au

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