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Originally published Tuesday, November 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM

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29 Tenn. courthouses receive bomb threats

Authorities say the number of Tennessee courthouses involved in a rash of false bomb threats has risen to 29.

Associated Press

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

Authorities say the number of Tennessee courthouses involved in a rash of false bomb threats has risen to 29.

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security spokeswoman Dalya Qualls said Tuesday that nine threats were reported in West Tennessee counties, including the federal building in Memphis. Qualls says there were six bomb threats in Middle Tennessee and 14 in East Tennessee.

Many buildings had to be evacuated after the threats. Qualls said no bombs were found.

Tennessee is at least the fourth state this month to deal with phony bomb threats at courthouses. In Oregon, 28 courthouses were threatened last week, and similar threats were reported in Nebraska and Washington.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Bomb threats forced the evacuation of 24 courthouses across Tennessee Tuesday morning, including the federal building in Memphis, but authorities who are investigating said no devices were found.

Tennessee became the fourth state to deal with similar bomb hoaxes. One targeted 28 courthouses in Oregon and similar threats were reported in Nebraska and Washington this month.

Seven threats were in West Tennessee, four in Middle Tennessee and 13 in East Tennessee, said state Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeremy Heidt. No bombs have been found.

Dalya Qualls, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, said no arrests have been made and the agency is assisting local law enforcement to investigate.

Heidt said the threats were made by telephone to court clerk offices. "It's been going on all morning," said Heidt.

The federal building in Memphis houses the federal court and offices for the Department of Justice, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen. It was cleared around 9 a.m. for a couple of hours while authorities checked it.

Police temporarily blocked a trolley line that ran by the federal building in Memphis and brought in a dog to search the building before letting people return around 11 a.m.

The West Tennessee counties that received threats were Carroll, Crockett, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, Chester and Shelby. The Middle Tennessee counties affected were Cheatham, Clay, Franklin and Giles. The East Tennessee counties that received threats were Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Carter, Claiborne, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton and Hancock.

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AP reporters Kristin M. Hall and Randall Dickerson contributed to this story from Nashville.

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