Paris police have evacuated the Eiffel Tower and cordoned off the area surrounding it after receiving a phone-in bomb threat. A spokesperson for the company that runs the iconic tourist attraction said that the monument was evacuated as a precautionary measure after police received the anonymous tip, New York Times reported.
Most of the streets around the 131-year-old Paris landmark have been barricaded and a nearby bridge that stretches across the Seine River to Trocadero Plaza has also been temporarily closed, AP reported.
French media has reported that the police received the anonymous phone call in the afternoon and were warned that a bomb had been placed under the tower. According to a French journalist named Amaury Bucco, an unidentified man threatened to “blow everything up” outside the monument.
🔴 Alerte terminée. Le dispositif de sécurité a été levé aux abords de la Tour Eiffel. https://t.co/iBObE0qJtO
— Barthelemy Bolo (@B2Bolo) September 23, 2020
Périmètre de la Your Eiffel bouclé, opération e police en cours: un homme a crié Allahua Akbar et menace de tout faire exploser… pic.twitter.com/rL26y4uvrM
— Amaury Bucco (@AmauryBucco) September 23, 2020
The police have launched an investigation in the Seventh Arrondissement, where the Eiffel Tower is located, the Evening Standard reported. Local law enforcement authorities are urging people to steer clear of the area for the time being.
This is not the first time the tourist attraction has faced the threat of a terrorist attack. In May 2018, a huge group of visitors had to evacuate the tower after police received a similar bomb threat, which later turned out to be a hoax. The year before that, a suspicious package was recovered near the monument. However, a bomb squad later found that it was not dangerous.
Before the ongoing coronavirus pandemic struck, the Eiffel Tower was visited by over 25,000 people a day. But the number of visitors came down drastically due to travel restrictions and lockdowns to contain the spread of the deadly infection, AP reported.