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PARIS, FRANCE — The Eiffel Tower was briefly evacuated Saturday after someone called in a bomb threat, saying a bomb would explode at the landmark in the French capital of Paris, officials said on early Sunday morning. Police using sniffer dogs did not find anything suspicious.
The incident began just after 7 p.m. local time on Saturday when police ordered the evacuation of around 1,400 people, many of them tourists, from the 324-meter (1,063-feet) tower and the surrounding area. A large security perimeter was set up around the monument as a precaution.
One police source, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said police had received a call that threatened a bomb would explode at the Eiffel Tower at 9:30 p.m. local time. The source said the call likely originated from a Paris suburb and that authorities decided to evacuate the area as a precaution.
Police teams with sniffer dogs searched the landmark and its surrounding area for nearly three hours but were unable to find anything suspicious. The area was declared safe at around 10:15 p.m. local time and visitors were able to return to the Eiffel Tower just after 10:30 p.m. local time.
The Eiffel Tower, which attracts nearly 7 million visitors each year, is occassionally evacuated because of bomb threats. But security has been stepped up across France in recent weeks due to the country's military campaign against al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Mali.