On Thursday, fourteen airports in France received bomb threats, leading to the evacuation of at least eight of them, according to an inside source who spoke to AFP. This incident marked the second mass evacuation in just two days.
The French Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that “several national airports, including Nantes, received threats of attack [Thursday] morning.” However, the specific number and names of the affected airports were not disclosed.
Among the airports that were evacuated due to bomb threats on Thursday were Brest (Finistere), Bordeaux-Merignac (Gironde), Montpellier (Herault), and Nantes (Loire-Atlantique). Lille Airport was also evacuated following a bomb threat. This was the second time in two days that Nantes, Rennes, and Lille airports were forced to evacuate due to hoax threats. On Wednesday, a total of 17 threats were called in to airports, resulting in 15 evacuations. The authorities decided to close the airports temporarily in order to ensure the safety of passengers and to investigate the veracity of the threats.
Strasbourg Airport confirmed that it had evacuated on Wednesday in response to a malicious email, while Beauvais revealed that several airports had received an anonymous bomb threat. Nice Airport reported a panic triggered by an abandoned piece of luggage. Other airports affected on Wednesday included Toulouse, Biarritz, Pau, and Lyon.
The evacuations on Wednesday caused the cancellation of 130 flights and significant delays for travelers.
Transport Minister Clement Beaune responded to these events by promising to crack down on phony bomb threats. In a post on social media, he emphasized that these false alerts were not mere pranks but serious crimes. Perpetrators of organized false alarms could face up to two years in prison and a fine of €30,000. Minister of Justice Eric Dupond-Moretti warned that false bomb threats could incur even harsher penalties, including up to three years in prison and a fine of €45,000.
In addition to the airport evacuations, two major tourist attractions in France also faced security threats. The Louvre Museum in Paris and the palace at Versailles were both evacuated due to separate threats. The Louvre received a written message warning of a risk to the museum and its visitors, while Versailles received a bomb threat via an anonymous online message. Since then, Versailles has been evacuated three more times due to security threats, the most recent incident occurring on Thursday.
These incidents come at a time when France has been on high alert due to the heightened terror threat level. Last week, a Chechen Muslim immigrant suspected of Islamic radicalization attacked a teacher in Arras, resulting in his death and the injury of two others. The incident was connected by Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin to Israel’s war with Hamas. In response, the French government deployed approximately 7,000 troops as part of Operation Sentinelle, a joint military-police initiative aimed at enhancing security nationwide.
The authorities in France are taking these bomb threats and security risks seriously, vowing to investigate and prosecute those responsible. The safety and security of the public remain a top priority, with measures in place to mitigate any potential threats.