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Dozens of French airports evacuated after emailed bomb threats

AFP
AFP - [email protected]
Dozens of French airports evacuated after emailed bomb threats
Dozens of French airports including Toulouse-Blagnac were evacuated on Wednesday after receiving bomb threats. Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP

A total of 15 French airports were evacuated on Wednesday and 130 flights cancelled after a series of email bomb threats and security alerts.

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An initial six airports were evacuated on Wednesday morning after receiving bomb threats, but the total spiralled throughout the day until 15 airports throughout France had been evacuated.

Most of the evacuations lasted a couple of hours or less, and no bombs were found.

Some airports had received bomb threats, mostly by emailed, while others initiated security protocols after seeing suspicious packages or abandoned luggage.

READ ALSO Should I be worried by terror alerts in France?

Transport minister Clément Beaune said that 17 airports had received threats, 15 of those evacuated passengers and 130 flights were cancelled.

 

Airports affected were; Bordeaux, Lyon (both Lyon-Saint-Exupéry and Lyon Bron) Rennes, Lille, Toulouse, Paris Beauvais, Nice, Strasbourg, Biarritz, Pau, Nantes, Brest, Tarbes-Lourdes and Carcassonne.

In addition to the cancelled flights there were also delays and disruption throughout the day, with some flights re-routed to other airports.

 

A spokesman for France's DGAC aviation authority confirmed that some airports were evacuated after bomb threats had been received "either by telephone or by email" while others carried out evacuation procedures after suspect packages were discovered.

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Most airports allowed passengers to return after checks had been carried out, with the security operations lasting between one and two hours.

Beaune said: "The threat is assessed each time. We check the reality of the threat. False alarms are punishable by law. I have asked the airports to systematically lodge a complaint.

"We will also take the matter to court, so that it is not seen as a bad joke. This is one of those acts that fosters a climate of terror, and it must be treated as such."

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said "the little jokers" behind the false alerts would be found and punished.

"They will be found, they will be punished and their parents will be required to reimburse the damages they have caused" if they are minors, he said.

The maximum penalty for making a false bomb threat in France is two years in jail and a €30,000 fine.

France is on the highest state of terror alert after an attack by a radical Islamist at a school on Friday.

READ ALSO What we know about France's heightened terror alert

Since the alert, national sites including the Palace of Versailles and the Louvre gallery have been evacuated after bomb threats, all of which turned out to be false alarms. Versailles was evacuated for a third time on Wednesday.

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