Paris briefly shaken by false terror alert

Police forces converge on church after news emerges of possible hostage situation, but officials later confirm no danger exists

Illustrative photo of police in central Paris. (screenshot: YouTube)
Illustrative photo of police in central Paris. (screenshot: YouTube)

French security forces cordoned off an area of ​​central Paris Saturday afternoon after receiving news of a possible terror attack, before announcing that the alert was a “false alarm” and that there was “no danger” to report.

The fright caused a major stir in Paris and on social networks, amid terrorist threats in France.

The smartphone alert app run by French authorities had launched an alert mid-afternoon on a church in the Paris district of Les Halles.

According to Reuters, security forces had received a phone call claiming assailants had taken hostages at Saint-Leu church.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM TV that “as the operation took place, the church’s priest came out as well as a number of people, and the BRI (emergency intervention and search service) made sure… that there was no assailant.”

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French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve confirmed that the case was a false alarm.

France has suffered three major attacks in 18 months that have killed 231 people and officials say they have foiled numerous other plots to wreak havoc on the public.

AP contributed to this report.

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