Eiffel Tower evacuated after bomb threat: police source
The Eiffel Tower has been evacuated and armed police are standing guard after an anonymous caller claimed a bomb was planted at the landmark.
Paris police have cordoned off a large area around the tourist site in the French capital and urged people to stay away while officers inspect the area to find out if the threat is legitimate.
It is said that an anonymous caller told the police that they had planted a bomb at the site, which is normally visited by tens of thousands of people every day.
Without citing a source, journalist Amaury Bucco, who posted photos of the police cordon, claimed on Twitter: "The perimeter of the Eiffel Tower is cordoned off, police operation in progress: a man shouted Allahu Akbar and threatened to blow everything up."
But police have not confirmed what was said by the person who made the threat.
Mr Bucco, the journalist, wrote that a police source had told him that a man 'threatened to blow himself up', but this has not been verified.
The Eiffel Tower was closed for three months during a strict coronavirus lockdown in France.
It reopened with restrictions in June and it has remained open despite a huge spike in cases during the country's second wave of Covid-19.
The so-called ‘Iron Lady’ welcomes more than six million visitors a year, and regularly receives calls concerning security – many of which turn out to be hoaxes.
In 2018, perimeter defences including bulletproof glass screens were placed around the monument to protect against terror threats.
Terrorist groups which have threatened it in recent years include al-Qaeda and ISIS.
It has also been attacked by members of the anti-government Yellow Vest movement, which last year lit fires at the base of the tower, and destroyed perimeter fencing.
In May and October last year, visitors were ordered to leave due to people climbing the tower.
The landmark was evacuated and remained closed for two hours in May 2018 due to a bomb threat that police determined to be a hoax.
In August 2017, a terrorism investigation was launched after a man wielding a knife and shouting the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) tried to force his way in.
A suspicious package led to an evacuation in June 2017. A bomb squad checked the item and found that it did not pose a threat.
The tower was twice evacuated in September 2010 due to bomb threats that turned out to be hoaxes.