Police: Eiffel Tower evacuated after second bomb threat in 2 weeks

By Pierre-yves Roger, AP
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Police: Eiffel Tower evacuated after bomb threat

PARIS — The Eiffel Tower was evacuated on Tuesday after officials received a bomb threat from a telehone booth, in the second such alert at the monument in two weeks.

France is on alert for possible terror attacks on crowded targets.

Police closed down the immediate surroundings of the tower, France’s most visited monument, on Tuesday evening, blocking off traffic. Officers pulled red-and-white police tape across a bridge leading over the Seine River to the monument. Dozens of officers stood guard in the area.

The anonymous caller phoned in the threat to the tower from a nearby neighborhood, the Paris police headquarters said, adding the company that runs the monument asked police to evacuate it.

The Eiffel Tower was emptied Sept. 14 after a similar phone threat, and police combed through the 324-meter (1,063-foot) tower, finding nothing suspicious. On Monday, the bustling Saint Lazare train station in Paris was briefly evacuated and searched.

National Police Chief Frederic Pechenard said last week that authorities suspect al-Qaida’s North African branch of plotting a bomb attack on a crowded location in France. That group, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, claimed responsibility for the Sept. 16 abduction of five French nationals and two Africans in northern Niger.

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