France terror alert level atred after London blasts

7th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 7 (AFP) - France on Thursday raised its anti-terror alert to red, the second-highest rating, after a series of explosions rocked London, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced.

PARIS, July 7 (AFP) - France on Thursday raised its anti-terror alert to red, the second-highest rating, after a series of explosions rocked London, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced.

Security was especially tight around the British embassy in Paris, as well as in the French capital's underground system, Paris area airports and rail stations, especially for passengers travelling to Britain.

French President Jacques Chirac, who was in Scotland for the Group of Eight summit, told British Prime Minister Tony Blair that he had France's "total solidarity" following the fatal blasts, which Blair called "terrorist attacks".

"The president of the Republic told the British prime minister of his horror at the tragic events in London and expressed his sad condolences," a spokesman for Chirac said.

"He told him of the total solidarity of France and of the French people."

After an emergency meeting with his key cabinet ministers and telephone talks with Chirac, Villepin said: "This is a drama for Great Britain, for all of Europe, which was already struck in Madrid in March 2004."

The red level of France's Vigipirate security plan calls for random checks in trains, patrols on high-speed trains including Eurostar trains heading to London and airspace restrictions over certain sensitive areas.

It is the second of four levels -- scarlet, red, orange and yellow.

The French state-owned railway SNCF advised passengers not to travel to London in the wake of the blasts, urging them to postpone their departures even though trains were running on or close to schedule.

The SNCF said all passengers holding unused tickets for Thursday would be reimbursed or able to travel on a different day.

Both houses of the French parliament -- the lower-house National Assembly and the Senate -- suspended their sessions in solidarity with the British people.

The blasts came as G8 leaders met in Scotland, and just one day after London was chosen over Paris to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe, who returned to France on Thursday from Singapore where he went to defend the city's bid to host the Olympic Games, told reporters: "Right now, we are all Londoners."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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