Louvre and Versailles evacuated due to threats

France has upped its terrorism warning to the highest level following a school stabbing

France’s Louvre museum and Versailles palace were evacuated and access restricted by police following bomb threats on Saturday, police confirmed. The country is under a heightened terror alert following a stabbing by a suspected Islamic radical at a school in Arras. 

Tourists were ordered to leave the Louvre and the underground shopping center beneath it after the museum received written bomb threats, Paris police said. Both spaces were cordoned off by police and searched. The museum’s communication service confirmed no one had been hurt and no “incident” was reported.  

Tourists were also ordered to leave Versailles, and the palace and its gardens were searched, according to a national police spokesperson.  

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France introduces terrorist threat regime

The evacuations came after France increased its terror alert to the highest level on Friday after several people were stabbed, one fatally, at a school in Arras by a Chechen Muslim ex-student suspected of radicalization.  

The attacker, Mohammed Moguchkov, was already on a government watchlist and under physical and electronic surveillance when he stabbed a French teacher in the throat and chest, killing him. A security guard was also stabbed and is in critical condition, while another teacher and a janitor were injured less seriously.  

Moguchkov’s family was set to be expelled from France years ago before a last-minute appeal permitted them to stay and resettle in Arras.  

Decrying the attack as a manifestation of “the barbarity of Islamist terrorism,” President Emmanuel Macron revealed security forces had foiled a second attack, a reference to a “radicalized” man arrested for carrying a banned weapon outside a prayer hall in Yvelines, according to the Interior Ministry. 

The French anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation and ten people have been detained in total as of Saturday, including the Moguchkov family and two Belarusian nationals. 

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin claimed there was “probably a link between what’s happening in the Middle East and this incident,” referring to the stabbing. Darmanin officially banned all pro-Palestinian demonstrations in France on Thursday, claiming they were “likely to generate disturbances to public order” and threatening to “systematically” deport foreign nationals who violated the ban. 

in spite of the official prohibition, thousands took to the streets of Paris and other cities to protest Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, which UN human rights experts have called ethnic cleansing. 

France deployed 7,000 soldiers on Saturday as part of Operation Sentinelle, a joint police-military initiative intended to protect sensitive areas from terrorism. Some 582 cultural and religious sites had already received increased police protection as of Thursday due to the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, and French Education Minister Gabriel Attal called on regional education officials to enforce security at their schools “without delay.

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