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Eiffel Tower bomb threat a false alarm: police

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, September 14, 2010 17:46 EDT
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The area under Paris’ Eiffel Tower has been opened up to tourists again after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat and police combed through the famous monument looking for suspicious objects.

France’s BFM television and other French media reported that police found nothing suspicious at the tower, which is France’s most popular tourist monument. Paris police headquarters did not immediately respond to calls seeking information.

Around midnight in Paris, people were walking around and riding bikes under the tower. The tower itself usually closes at 11 p.m.

French media say a second tourist hub — the Saint-Michel subway station near Notre Dame Cathedral — was also been briefly evacuated.

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

PARIS (AP) — Paris’ Eiffel Tower and its immediate surroundings underneath were evacuated Tuesday evening after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat, the French capital’s police headquarters said.

French media reported that a second tourist hub — the Saint-Michel subway station near Notre Dame Cathedral — had also been evacuated following a similar threat.

A Paris police spokesman said he had no information about the reports on the Saint-Michel station, which was the target of a terrorist attack in 1995 that killed eight and injured scores of people.

Across town, about 2,000 people were cleared from the 324-meter (1,063-foot) Eiffel Tower on the banks of the Seine River, and police were checking it for suspicious objects, the spokesman at the police headquarters said. He declined to give his name, citing department policy.

Eiffel Tower security services made the decision to clear out tourists and workers following the threat, the spokesman said.

Despite the scare at the tower, tourists and curious Parisians continued to mill around the surrounding sidewalks, and traffic continued to circulate nearby. Several police trucks were posted under the tower, and officers stood guard.

The tower is France’s most popular monument, and 6.6 million people visited it last year.

Bomb scares are frequent in Paris, and the city has experienced terrorism firsthand. Algerian Islamic insurgents bombed the Saint-Michel station on July 25, 1995, killing eight people and injuring 150.

It was the first attack in a campaign of violence that terrorized Paris subway commuters for a time. Gas cooking canisters loaded with nails, sometimes hidden in garbage cans, were used in many of the bombings.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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