Airports across France evacuated after bomb scares

France is on its highest state of alert after suspected Islamist attack on teacher

Rich Booth,Andy Gregory
Wednesday 18 October 2023 13:34 BST
Related video: Knife attacker kills teacher, seriously wounds two other people in France school attack

A number of airports across France have been evacuated due to bomb threats, days after the country was placed on its highest state of alert.

Intensifying a series of threats at high-profile tourist sites this week, France’s civil aviation authority confirmed to The Independent on Wednesday that numerous airports had been evacuated – but could not yet say exactly how many had received threats.

Agence France-Presse quoted a police source as saying six airports – Lille, Paris-Beauvais, Nantes, Toulouse, Nice and Lyon – had been closed after emailed “threats of attack”, to allow authorities to “clear up any doubts” that the threats might be real. Biarritz and Pau were also affected, Reuters reported.

Two hours after announcing its evacuation, citing a bomb threat, Lille Airport said it was safe for staff and passengers to return. Lyon’s prefecture also said the threat there had been a false alarm, while Nice airport said an abandoned piece of luggage had briefly disrupted operations there.

France is on its highest state of alert after the murder of a teacher in a suspected Islamist attack on Friday. Two other staff members were left in a critical condition.

The following day, bomb alerts which proved false forced the evacuation of the Louvre museum, Paris’ Gare de Lyon train station and the Palace of Versailles. The palace said it was again evacuating tourists for the third time in five days on Wednesday.

It comes during a rise in tension in the country as a result of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

After a security meeting on Monday, France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin said that 102 people had been arrested in relation with antisemitic acts or inciting terrorism since the war began on 7 October.

French police officers were guarding the entrance of the Chateau de Versailles after a security alert Tuesday (AP)

That same day, a 45-year-old Tunisian terror suspect opened fire and killed two Swedish football fans in Brussels. Prior to being shot by police the next day, suspect Abdesalem Lassoued posted a video on Facebook, claiming he was a member of Isis and had killed “three Swedes so far”.

Sweden raised its terror alert to its second-highest level in August after Quran burnings and other acts in Sweden against Islam’s holiest text outraged Muslims. The government has warned that Sweden had become a priority target among jihadists.

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