October 7, 2005

Washington Monument evacuated, no bomb found

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Washington Monument was
evacuated because of a telephone bomb threat but nothing
dangerous was found after a search of the area, law enforcement
officials said on Friday.

Sgt. Scott Fear of the National Park Police said on CNN
television people were evacuated from the 555-foot (170-meter)
obelisk on the National Mall after a threat was phoned in at
2:24 p.m. EDT (1824 GMT).

Nearly two hours later, federal officials said the area was
all clear after nothing dangerous was found and the monument
was reopened.

One of the most famous landmarks in the United States, the
monument named to honor the first U.S. president, George
Washington, lies less than 1 mile from the White House.

Police said a thorough check was conducted in the area and
traffic on nearby streets was rerouted just as the capital's
evening rush hour was about to begin.

The monument is one of Washington's biggest tourist draws
and had just reopened this spring after several months during
which it underwent a major security update.

Carrie Edler, 42, who was visiting from Los Angeles, said
after the evacuation: "I think it's sad, it's pathetic, it's
becoming an every day occurrence. It's becoming a way of life