Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Explosives Found, Defused in Paris Department Store

PARIS — French police neutralized five sticks of explosives discovered in the restrooms of a prestigious department store in Paris on Tuesday following a warning from a group demanding the withdrawal of French troops from Afghanistan.

Agence France-Presse said it received a letter from a group calling itself the Afghan Revolutionary Front saying that "several bombs" had been planted in the Printemps store.

AFP reported that the letter called for the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan by February next year. The bombs were supposed to go off on Wednesday, the group said.

France has about 2,600 troops serving with NATO in Afghanistan, though President Nicolas Sarkozy has said more will be sent.

French television also said five explosive devices had been defused, but police could not immediately confirm.

"Following a classic tip off, police evacuated Le Printemps store. A suspect package was found and is being examined," the police spokesman said, giving no further information.

Some French media said explosives had been found but did not have detonators attached.

The Printemps store is on Boulevard Haussmann in the city center, which is normally packed at this time of year with Christmas shoppers. Police closed off the streets around the store and were directing traffic away from the area, a Reuters reporter said.

Anti-crime brigades and demining teams have been called in.

No comments: