Death threats in letters enclosing live ammunition have been sent to President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Justice Minister, Rachida Dati, and five other French politicians.
The threats, signed by an unknown group called Solidarity Earth, are being investigated by anti-terrorist police but officials believe they are probably the work of a “disturbed individual”.
Alain Juppé, the former prime minister, now Mayor of Bordeaux, had one of the threatening messages in a brown envelope on Monday. That contained another envelope, which held alive 9mm round and a rambling 20- line note.
The note said, among other things: “You think that you own our lives. No. We own your lives and those of your friends and family.” The message threatened President Sarkozy, Mme Dati and the Interior Minister, Michèle Alliot-Marie.
Almost identical letters, also containing live rounds, had gone to Mme Dati and Mme Alliot-Marie, the culture minister Christine Albanel, and two leading, provincial figures in the ruling centre-right party, the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire.
The Paris public prosecutor’s office now admits a similar threat, also enclosing a 9mm round, had been sent to the President last week, which the Elysée Palace had initially denied.
The name Terre-Solidaritée is unknown to the authorities but vaguely suggests a far left or extremist ecological group. Mme Alliot-Marie, had warned of a possible rise of “ultra-leftist” violence.
She was heavily criticised last year for claiming to have struck a blow against terror after the arrest of young leftists alleged to have sabotaged the overhead power cables of high-speed railway lines.