A bomb alert at the Eiffel Tower forced the evacuation of the Parisian landmark for a few hours Friday afternoon.
An anonymous phone call sparked the alert at about 2 p.m. local time, and police dispatched a bomb disposal unit to inspect the tower. The landmark reopened in two hours after nothing suspicious was found, Reuters reported
Tourists near the top of the 1,063-foot attraction had to descend about 700 steps to exit the structure, and patrons at the Jules Verne restaurant, located on the second floor, were also evacuated until authorities determined it was a false alarm.
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A bomb alert at the Eiffel Tower forced the evacuation of the Parisian landmark for a few hours Friday afternoon. Security for Americans in Western countries is increasing amid the U.S. State Department's issuance of a global travel warning last week
for its citizens. Also, the government closed 21 U.S. embassies and consulates across the Muslim world earlier this month, citing security concerns.
"There is a significant threat stream and we're reacting to it," Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told ABC News
, adding that the threat was "more specific" than previous ones and the "intent is to attack Western, not just U.S. interests."
In particular, France remains on high alert after its military intervention in Mali earlier this year incurred threats against the country's interests from al-Qaida's North African wing.
Built in 1889 as an entrance to that year's World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower attracts roughly 7 million visitors a year to its three levels, including some 30,000 per day during the busy summer months. Like other famous landmarks, the tower sees its share of bomb threats, but only a few lead to evacuation.
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