Evacuation at the Louvre Museum and Versailles Palace Following Bomb Threats Amid Increased Security Concerns in France

by Michael Nguyen
National Security in France

On Saturday, both the Louvre Museum in Paris and the Versailles Palace were compelled to evacuate visitors and staff due to received bomb threats, according to law enforcement officials. This comes as France intensifies its national security measures, deploying an additional 7,000 troops across the country in response to a fatal stabbing at a school, allegedly carried out by an individual suspected to be an Islamic extremist.

The heightened state of alert in France is set against the backdrop of not only a recent school attack but also mounting global tensions, particularly due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The administration of President Emmanuel Macron has expressed concerns about the potential impact of this conflict within French borders.

When the evacuation at the Louvre was initiated, alarms were activated throughout the museum and its adjacent underground shopping center. Authorities conducted a thorough search of the museum after written bomb threats were received. According to the Louvre’s communication services, no injuries were reported and no explosive devices were found; the museum is set to resume its normal operations on Sunday. The Louvre, renowned for housing iconic artworks such as the Mona Lisa, typically attracts a daily visitor count ranging between 30,000 and 40,000, with annual numbers reaching into the millions.

Similarly, Versailles Palace also reported bomb threats. Both the palace and its expansive gardens were cleared while law enforcement agencies conducted an investigation. A noteworthy railway station in Paris, Gare de Lyon, was also evacuated subsequent to the discovery of a potentially explosive bottle, police sources confirmed.

Earlier on the same day, the French government announced plans to mobilize 7,000 troops by Monday evening. This decision followed the activation of an “attack emergency” threat level, which permits the temporary deployment of additional forces to safeguard public spaces, among other security-enhancing measures, in the aftermath of a school stabbing in the northern city of Arras.

Counterterrorism units are investigating the Arras incident, and several individuals, including the suspected assailant, are in police custody. While the specific motive of the attacker remains to be determined, he had been recently monitored by intelligence agencies for possible radicalization related to Islamic extremism. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin revealed that recent intelligence hinted at a connection between the Middle East conflict and the suspect’s decision to carry out the attack.

Court records indicate that the suspect, identified as Mohammed M., originates from Russia’s Ingushetia region, which shares a border with Chechnya.

Members of the affected school community returned to the Gambetta-Carnot school on Saturday under police surveillance. Although formal classes were suspended, the institution opened its doors to those seeking emotional support or community solidarity.

Experts in trauma stress the significance of processing emotions and revisiting scenes of traumatic incidents as part of the coping process. Parents and students gathered at the school, some seeking advice on how to emotionally support their children who had witnessed the violence.

The recent school attack has evoked memories of a similar tragedy involving the murder of a teacher, Samuel Paty, approximately three years prior. All middle and high schools in France will commence operations later on Monday to allow staff time to discuss the recent events and prepare to address students’ concerns. A moment of silence will be observed across educational establishments in remembrance of all victims of attacks targeting schools.

President Macron called on the French population to maintain unity in these trying times.

Contributions to this report were made by Jeffrey Schaeffer from Arras, Thomas Padilla in Paris, and Nicolas Garriga in Arras.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about National Security in France

What locations were evacuated due to bomb threats?

The Louvre Museum in Paris and the Versailles Palace were evacuated following bomb threats on Saturday. Gare de Lyon, a major Paris train station, was also evacuated due to the discovery of a potentially explosive bottle.

Why were additional troops being deployed across France?

The French government announced the mobilization of 7,000 additional troops to be deployed across the country by Monday evening. This heightened security measure comes in the wake of a fatal school stabbing in the northern city of Arras, allegedly carried out by an individual suspected to be an Islamic extremist.

How is the government responding to the recent school attack?

In response to the school attack, the French government activated an “attack emergency” threat level, allowing for the temporary deployment of additional forces to protect public places. Counterterrorism authorities are currently investigating the incident.

What is the current state of the Louvre Museum and Versailles Palace?

Both the Louvre Museum and Versailles Palace have been cleared by authorities. The Louvre is set to reopen on Sunday, while the status of Versailles Palace remains to be confirmed. No injuries or explosive devices were reported at either location.

What background information is known about the suspected assailant in the school attack?

The suspected assailant had been under recent surveillance by intelligence services for possible Islamic radicalization. He is identified as Mohammed M. and is from the Ingushetia region in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains, which neighbors Chechnya.

How is the educational community responding to the school attack?

All French middle and high schools will open later on Monday to allow staff time to discuss the recent events. A moment of silence will be observed to honor the victims of all attacks targeting schools. The affected Gambetta-Carnot school reopened on Saturday for those seeking emotional support or community solidarity.

What is President Emmanuel Macron’s message to the French people?

President Macron has urged the French population to maintain unity in these trying times.

More about National Security in France

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SarahW October 14, 2023 - 7:36 pm

Honestly, I’m not surprised with the current global tension. But 7000 troops! That’s a big number. Sounds like France is really upping their security game.

Rachel_Z October 14, 2023 - 9:44 pm

This article is well-detailed. Gives a complete picture of whats happening in France right now. The FAQ is a nice touch, answers a lot of questions.

Tim_inParis October 15, 2023 - 12:54 am

I was actually planning to go to the Louvre this weekend. Dodged a bullet there, metaphorically speaking of course. Stay safe everyone.

Caroline_M October 15, 2023 - 1:36 am

It’s so hard to comprehend this kind of violence, especially when schools and children are involved. My thoughts are with everyone affected.

Mike_Jones October 15, 2023 - 2:00 am

Wow, this is intense. can’t believe places like the Louvre and Versailles are getting evacuated. What’s the world coming to, really?

Dan_the_Man October 15, 2023 - 5:36 am

Macron says to stay united. Easier said than done man, but let’s hope people actually listen. We need unity now more than ever.

JuliaR October 15, 2023 - 1:32 pm

The school attacks are just heartbreaking. Hope they catch whoever’s responsible and that justice is served.

Alex_91 October 15, 2023 - 4:32 pm

Kudos to the authorities for acting so fast. Evacuations are no joke, and it sounds like they handled it well.


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