France tightens airport security after bomb plot

10th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Aug 10, 2006 (AFP) - France on Thursday announced tightened security measures on all French flights to Britain, the United States and Israel, after the discovery of a foiled bomb plot targeting Britain-US flights.

PARIS, Aug 10, 2006 (AFP) - France on Thursday announced tightened security measures on all French flights to Britain, the United States and Israel, after the discovery of a foiled bomb plot targeting Britain-US flights.

All hand luggage on these flights will be 100-percent searched, Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters following a meeting with top security and intelligence officials.

"Random searches will also be carried out on cross-channel Eurostar services and across all French train stations and airports," with sniffer dogs used to detect explosives, Sarkozy said.

Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin telephoned both his British counterpart Tony Blair and President Jacques Chirac to discuss the security threat, before holding an anti-terrorism meeting with top cabinet ministers, his office said.

Chirac later telephoned Blair personally and congratulated him on the security operation that led to the foiling of the plot with 21 arrests, a statement from the French leader's office said.

The French president called Blair from his presidential holiday home in southern France and congratulated him on the "remarkable work" by British security services in breaking up what he called "a dangerous terrorist network".

They also "agreed on the necessity to reinforce further the vigilance measures and cooperation in Europe and throughout the world", the statement said.

Meanwhile passengers planning to fly between the two countries saw air connections widely disrupted.

Around 50 flights from France to Britain were cancelled on Thursday, half of them from Paris, according to the French civil aviation authority.

French airline Air France cancelled its 10 daily scheduled flights to London Heathrow and was to review the situation at 1800 GMT.

Six British-bound flights from the Mediterranean city of Nice — four operated by British Airways and two by the low-cost carrier Easyjet — were also cancelled, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded, the airport said.

Authorities in Britain said Thursday they had thwarted a plot to wreak "mass murder" with the simultaneous mid-air bombings of planes to the United States, and ordered a maximum security alert that snarled air traffic around the world.

Police said 21 people had been arrested, most of them in the capital London and surrounding area, over the alleged plot in which terrorists would smuggle aboard explosives in hand baggage and detonate them.

The terror alert level in French airports was unchanged at red, the third highest on a four-colour scale, but security was stepped up at British airline check-in counters at Paris' main Charles de Gaulle airport, police said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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