The Eiffel Tower in Paris was evacuated for two hours Wednesday after an anonymous caller threatened to blow up the great edifice in the heart of the French capital, police said.
After an inspection, nothing suspicious was found and the Eiffel Tower was able to reopen to visitors.
“A man phoned up, shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ and said he was going to ‘blow up everything'” at the Eiffel Tower, said a police source, who asked not to be named.
A security cordon was put around the monument, traffic diverted and the Eiffel Tower evacuated at 12:15 pm (1015 GMT).
Its operator SETE said in a statement that after a thorough search nothing was found and the tower was able to reopen at 2:15 pm.
The monument had reopened on June 26 after its longest closure since World War II forced by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Eiffel Tower usually receives about seven million visitors a year, some three-quarters from abroad, although even after reopening numbers are down sharply due to travel restrictions amid the pandemic.
The Eiffel Tower reopened on Thursday for the first time since France imposed its coronavirus lockdown in March, though tourists will not be allowed to the top of the Paris landmark until later this summer.
Journalists from around the world were on hand as about 50 visitors, mainly French, prepared to make the steep climb by stairs to the first two levels, as elevators will remain closed because of social distancing concerns.
Visitors to the city’s most famous monument won’t be able to take the lifts until July 1, to ensure a safe distance between people to limit infection risk.
The very top of the iconic monument will remain off-limits to the public for now.
The 10-tonne metal landmark will emerge from its longest closure since World War II in time for the summer season, but with limited visitor numbers at first, and mandatory face masks for all over the age of 11, said the Eiffel Tower website.
The first visitors will be allowed in from 10:00 am (0800 GMT), a symbolic moment as France begins to tentatively open up to tourism after the virus shutdown.
Eager tourists have been able to grab their tickets since June 18, when the online ticket office opened.
“To ensure that ascending and descending visitors do not meet in the stairs, the ascent will take place from the East pillar and descent by the West pillar,” said the operator, with a limited number of visitors per floor at a time.
The top-level will remain closed for now, “since the lifts taking visitors from second to the top floor are small. It might reopen during the summer.”
Christophe Girard, overseeing cultural affairs at Paris’s city hall said the recent fire at Notre-Dame Cathedral — which destroyed its spire and most of its roof — had awakened people to “the importance of our heritage”, and that it “can disappear or be damaged”.
The tower was the tallest structure in the world for 41 years until the construction of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930.
A section of stairs from the tower sold for almost 170,000 euros last year.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, on Monday night went dark in tribute to the victims of the attacks in Las Vegas and Marseille.
At least 59 people were killed and hundreds wounded Sunday when a gunman opened fire on a concert inLas Vegas in the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.
Earlier Sunday, a man knifed two young women to death outside the main train station in Marseille, France’s second-biggest city.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for both attacks via the jihadists’ propaganda outlet Amaq, which said they were carried out by its “soldiers”. It did not provide any evidence for either claim.
“Tonight we will turn off the Eiffel Tower from midnight in homage to the victims of the attacks in Marseille and Las Vegas,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote, adding the hashtag “we are united”.
The French capital has repeatedly switched off the night-time lights on its most famous landmark to show solidarity with victims of terror attacks from London to Kabul.