An anonymous threat reportedly concerned 20 education facilities around the French capital
Several Jewish schools around Paris have been evacuated following a bomb threat, triggering “panic” among some parents, according to sources cited by the Jerusalem Post.
Police launched a sweeping search of multiple schools on Monday after an anonymous suspect warned that “bombs would blow up in 20 different Jewish schools in the Paris area,” the outlet reported, citing “senior sources in the organized Jewish community.”
“There was a bomb threat towards many Jewish schools. Some of these schools have been evacuated. In most schools, parents were asked to take their children home,” one of the sources said.
They added that French security services had begun a search for bombs in the schools in question, but had yet to discover any explosives. “Even though everyone is okay, this event caused panic among parents. We’re going through a rough period and the situation in Israel has its effect on us as well,” the source continued.
French authorities have been on high alert amid the latest round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza. A surge in anti-Semitic actions has been seen across France in recent weeks, with the Interior Ministry stating that reports of such acts had quadrupled in that time.
Anti-Jewish graffiti on schools and other similar displays have stoked fears of violent reprisals, with some Jewish residents telling local media they are afraid to leave their homes.
The bomb threat against schools around Paris is the latest in a series of such incidents in France this month, with the historic Palace of Versailles forced to clear out on four separate occasions. While no bombs were found in each case, similar false threats have also resulted in evacuations at 15 airports and 130 canceled flights, according to the Associated Press.
On October 19, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said a probe into the threats was well underway, and confirmed that 18 suspects had been detained as part of the investigation – most of them minors.
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The minister added that “enormous means” were being deployed to find and arrest the pranksters, declaring “We tell those listening: We will find everyone.”
Justice chief Eric Dupond-Moretti, meanwhile, said the string of bomb threats were made by “little jokers” and “clowns,” and went on to warn of three-year prison terms and fines of up to €45,000 ($47,000) for those found guilty.