2,000 evacuated in Paris bomb alerts

Two false alarms came within hours of the Senate voting to ban the burqa in public from next spring

14 September 2010

THE EIFFEL Tower and Saint-Michel station were evacuated last night in two separate false bomb alerts.

Eiffel Tower management received an anonymous call at about 20.30. Some 2,000 visitors were evacuated and the area around the Champ de Mars sealed off for the rest of the evening.

Police spent three hours searching the monument and found nothing. The security alert was lifted shortly before midnight.

A separate bomb alert was phoned in at Saint-Michel RER station at about 21.45.

The station was the target of a bomb attack by Algerian terrorists in summer 1995 which killed eight people and injured 150.

Police say the hoax calls were taken seriously because of their proximity to the ninth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US.

They also coincided with the Senate’s yes vote to a national ban on wearing the burqa in public, which will come into effect next spring.

France’s national security alert system, called Vigipirate, has been on its second highest level, red, since the July 2005 terrorist attacks in London.

The Maghreb arm of Al-Qaeda issued a threat to France last month, accusing president Nicolas Sarkozy of being “an enemy of Allah”.

Photo: Leon34ag/Twitpic

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