Paris book fair evacuated after bomb threat
A bomb threat on Sunday targeted the Paris book fair, forcing organisers to evacuate visitors to the literary event.
PARIS, March 17, 2008 - A bomb threat on Sunday targeted the Paris
book fair, forcing organisers to evacuate visitors to the literary event,
which this year is honouring Israeli writers despite a Muslim boycott, police
Visitors were told to leave the Paris exhibition hall shortly before 5 pm
(1600 GMT) for a security check and they were allowed to return an hour later,
according to an AFP journalist at the site.
Several Arab and Muslim countries and writers groups are boycotting the
book fair because Israeli writers have been invited to mark the 60th
anniversary of the creation of the Jewish state.
Amos Oz, David Grossman and Avraham B. Yehoshua are among the 39 Israeli
authors invited to the book fest that opened on Friday.
Mine-clearance experts were dispatched to the venue and a large police
presence was deployed in the area.
The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization last month
called on its 50 member states to stay away, arguing Israel's "crimes against
humanity" in the Palestinian territories make it "unworthy" of such an honour.
Muslim critics say Israel should not be rewarded in this manner while it
faces international outrage over its actions in the Palestinian territories.
Israeli attacks in Hamas-controlled Gaza have left more than 130
Palestinians dead since late February while Israel has faced international
criticism for its plans to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
The boycott call prompted organisers to beef up security during the fair
that ends on Wednesday.