French airports evacuated over threats of attack

Hubs at Toulouse, Biarritz and Pau, Nice, Lyon, Lille , Rennes and Nantes are responding

People wait outside Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in Blagnac, south-western France, on Wednesday. AFP
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Eight French airports were under security alert on Wednesday and several were evacuated for safety checks, aviation officials said.

The airports affected were Toulouse, Biarritz and Pau in the south-west, Nice in the south-east, Lyon in the east, Lille in the north, and Rennes and Nantes in western France, the national aviation authority and Interior Ministry said.

A spokesman for DGAC aviation authority confirmed bomb warnings and evacuations at four of the airports – Lille, Lyon, Toulouse and Beauvais. Security officials wanted to “clear up any doubts” the threats might be real, a source said.

The bomb threats and evacuations come at an uneasy time in Europe for security organisations as tensions rise around the conflict in Gaza and Israel.

The DGAC's online dashboard showed significant delays at Lille, Lyon and Toulouse.

Lille airport said a "bomb threat" had prompted an evacuation and three flights were diverted. A post on its X account said security forces were at the scene.

There was some confusion among passengers posting on social media.

Nice airport reported that "abandoned baggage" in Terminal 1 had sparked an evacuation.

"The situation has now returned to normal," it added.

Airport authorities at Lyon's Bron airport also said the all-clear had been given.

The bomb threat at Lyon-Bron was a false alarm, local authorities said in a post on X.

The Palace of Versailles was closed again because of a third security scare in five days.

In Belgium, two Swedes were killed while in the country to watch an international football match. France raised its terror alert to the highest level after a schoolteacher was killed by a man claiming allegiance to ISIS.

France has also seen evacuations at the Eiffel Tower and Versailles Palace, both international famous tourist attractions, since Saturday.

Italy arrested two suspected ISIS members and on Wednesday a Jewish school was evacuated after a bomb threat – which security personnel later said had been an exercise.

Belgian police killed 45-year-old Tunisian Abdesalem Lassoued, suspected in the football fan killing which is being treated as a “terrorist attack”.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Belgian attack.

Updated: October 18, 2023, 1:20 PM