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World Financial Center Evacuated Due to Gag Grenade

A fake grenade mounted on a plaque that said “Complaint Department: Pull Pin” forced evacuations of workers at Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch and Nomura Holdings Inc. in New York today, police said.

The New York City Police Department was called to 2 World Financial Center at about 11 a.m. local time after building security reporting finding a suspicious package containing what appeared to be an explosive device, a police spokeswoman said.

The NYPD’s bomb squad gave an “all clear” after determining that the package was a “grenade-like novelty item,” Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, said in an e-mail.

The 44-story building, owned by Brookfield Office Properties Inc., sits across from Ground Zero and was damaged during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. It is home to the offices of Merrill Lynch and Nomura, as well as Commerzbank AG and Deloitte & Touche.

Nomura evacuated its U.S. headquarters in the building because of the police investigation and “returned to business as usual” after police gave the all-clear, Jonathan Hodgkinson, a spokesman for Nomura, said in an e-mail.

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