Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: SEVERINE DABADIE / ONLY FRANCE / ONLY FRANCE VIA AFP 20:39 p.m., October 22, 2023

While bomb threats caused the evacuation of several dozen airports last week, the overwhelming majority of them came from "the same email address located in Switzerland", Transport Minister Clément Beaune said on Sunday.

Nearly 70 false bomb threats have targeted French airports since Wednesday, sent from "almost always the same email address located in Switzerland," Transport Minister Clément Beaune said on Sunday. "There have unfortunately been nearly 70 alerts of this type that have concerned our airports since Wednesday, fortunately much less yesterday Saturday, the first day of departure on vacation for many French," said Clément Beaune, guest of Questions politiques (France inter, France TV, Le Monde).

In addition to airports, certain public institutions are particularly targeted. The Palace of Versailles announced its temporary evacuation on Sunday for the seventh time in nine days. One suspect was arrested on Friday for the only phone alert about the castle, while the others were posted on a government website, according to police sources. The alerts on airports are not the work of "little jokers" but of "big morons, even big delinquents", the minister stressed.

"A kind of competition in stupidity"

Regarding their motivation, "there can be a mix of people who make bad jokes, who want to scare people for real, and sometimes also a kind of competition in stupidity between hackers," he suggested. "Since Wednesday, it is almost always the same email address that is used, located outside the European Union, in Switzerland," he added, implying that this would put the authors of this "typical email that looks the same from one day to the next" beyond the reach of certain sanctions in the EU.


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He invited hosting sites to help the French authorities: "Everyone has a responsibility, including platforms and social networks, not to be the support of this kind of attack and to cooperate as quickly as possible with the French civil aviation and our justice system." Making false alarms is "extremely dangerous" because it mobilizes the security forces "for several hours" and forces an evacuation "in some cases, so that "people gather outside, which is also a security problem," the minister recalled.

"More than 60 investigations" have been launched

He said he had asked each airport, with each alert received by email or call, to systematically file a complaint. In total, "more than 60 investigations in all locations have been launched," he said. France has raised to the maximum level the alert level of the Vigipirate plan against attacks since the murder on October 13 of teacher Dominique Bernard in his high school in Arras (Pas-de-Calais) by a young person registered for Islamist radicalization.


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Police and military patrols from Operation Sentinel have been reinforced, as well as the number of officers at train stations and airports. From next week, "40% more patrols will be put in place" at Paris airports, Beaune announced. Beyond that, the minister wants "more powers" to be conferred on the SNCF's security forces, in addition to the reinforced powers already introduced for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.