France vows crackdown after multiple fake bomb alerts

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PARIS – France’s Justice Minister vowed on Wednesday to crack down on “the little jokers” behind a flurry of false bomb alerts that caused chaos at airports and tourist sites on Wednesday.

E-mailed “threats of attack” combined with abandoned luggage scares to trigger evacuations at multiple airports including Lille, Lyon, Nantes, Nice, Toulouse and Beauvais near Paris, leading to hours of delays.

The situation had returned to normal at all airports by early evening.

The Palace of Versailles, a major tourist attraction outside Paris, was evacuated for the third time since Saturday for bomb disposal teams to check the site.

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.

France is on high alert following Hamas’ Oct 7 attack on Israel and Friday’s fatal stabbing of a teacher at a school in the northern city of Arras by a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group.

The school was evacuated due to a bomb alert on Monday just as a minute’s silence for the murdered teacher was due to be held, while the Louvre museum was also evacuated on Saturday due to a bomb threat. AFP

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