Tue. May 28th, 2024

France is threatening “little jokers” and “little clowns” with prison terms and big fines after fake bomb threats led to the cancellation of 130 flights and closed the Palace of Versailles three times in five days.

False threats were made against 17 airports on Wednesday, causing widespread disruption and the evacuation of 15 of them, French transport minister Clement Beaune said.

Officials suggested children and young people could be responsible.

Under French law, prank calls can be punished by up to three years behind bars and fines of almost £40,000.

Justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti blamed “little jokers, little clowns” and said they “will be found, they will be punished”.

He added: “We don’t need this. We don’t need troublemakers, psychosis, at this moment.”

Minors’ parents could be made to pay for damages, he added.

“These false alerts are not bad jokes, they are crimes,” Mr Beaune posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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France has been on heightened alert since the fatal stabbing of a schoolteacher last week.

The attack has been linked to the conflict between Israel and Hamas, France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin has said.

A funeral was held on Thursday for the French language teacher, Dominique Bernard, in Arras – the northern town where he taught at the Gambetta-Carnot school.

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