Live

Watch CBSN Live

Eiffel Tower Bomb Threat was False Alarm

Updated at 7:25 p.m. ET

The area under Paris' Eiffel Tower has been opened up to tourists again after an anonymous caller phoned in a bomb threat and police combed through the famous monument looking for suspicious objects.

France's BFM television and other French media reported that police found nothing suspicious at the tower, which is France's most popular tourist monument. Paris police headquarters did not immediately respond to calls seeking information.

Around midnight in Paris, people were walking around and riding bikes under the tower. The tower itself usually closes at 11 p.m.

CBS News correspondent Elaine Cobbe reports that an anonymous caller also phoned in a bomb threat to a commuter train station in central Paris. The St. Michel RER commuter train station near Notre Dame Cathedral was evacuated and police are investigating.

A Paris police spokesman said he had no information about the reports on the Saint-Michel station, which was the target of a terrorist attack in 1995 that killed eight and injured scores of people.

Across town, about 2,000 people were cleared from the 1,063-foot Eiffel Tower on the banks of the Seine River, a spokesman at the police headquarters said. He declined to give his name, citing department policy.

A police spokesperson told Cobbe that there was an anonymous phone call to the Eiffel Tower at around 8:20 p.m. local time.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the threats. But it comes after the head of France's counterespionage agency was quoted this weekend as saying that the risk of a terrorist attack on French soil has never been higher.

Bernard Squarcini told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that France's history as a colonial master in North Africa, its military presence in Afghanistan and a bill aimed at banning burqa-style Muslim veils in public all make the country a prime target for certain radical Islamist groups.

Earlier Tuesday, the ban on face-covering Islamic veils passed its final hurdle in parliament, but there was no immediate indication the threats were linked to the proposed ban.

French Senate Passes Ban on Full Muslim Veils

The proposal drew the indignation of the No. 2 of al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, who said the drive to ban the veil amounted to discrimination against Muslim women.

Despite the scare at the tower, tourists and curious Parisians continued to mill around the surrounding sidewalks, and traffic continued to circulate nearby. Several police trucks were posted under the tower, and officers stood guard.

The tower is France's most popular monument, and 6.6 million people visited it last year.

Bomb scares are frequent in Paris, and the city has experienced terrorism firsthand. Algerian Islamic insurgents bombed the Saint-Michel station on July 25, 1995, killing eight people and injuring 150.

It was the first attack in a campaign of violence that terrorized Paris subway commuters for a time. Gas cooking canisters loaded with nails, sometimes hidden in garbage cans, were used in many of the bombings.

View CBS News In