In an effort to put an end to a week of bomb scares at airports, schools, and landmarks, police sources stated that a 16-year-old student was detained over a fictitious bomb threat outside of Paris on Friday.
Since the Hamas attack on Israel, the accompanying conflict in Gaza, and the fatal stabbing of a teacher in the northern city of Arras last week, a country on high alert has been plagued by a rash of false bomb threats.
In Saint-Ouen-l’Aumône, a town northwest of Paris, the adolescent was detained on Thursday in connection with an email bomb threat.
The suspect’s high school, Jean Perrin, had been evacuated along with about 1,200 other people, including about 1,000 students.
An inspection of the scene revealed no explosives, and the teen’s precise motivation was still unknown.
According to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, on Wednesday and Thursday, officials detained 18 people after receiving bogus bomb threats.
The majority of France’s significant airports outside of Paris were attacked, resulting in evacuations, lengthy delays, and numerous canceled flights.
Eric Dupond-Moretti, France’s minister of justice, announced on Friday that 22 investigations had been opened in relation to the false alarms.
Dupond-Moretti told radio RTL, “There will undoubtedly be convictions; we cannot allow this to happen.”
He reaffirmed his commitment to taking tough measures against “little jokers who have no sense of responsibility.”
Dupond-Moretti continued, “The parents must be present, and I remind you that the parents will bear the financial burden.”
The penalty for violators is a 30,000 euro ($31,700) fine and two years in prison.
The punishment might be even worse, said Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau, who also said that such bomb threats will now be seen as a kind of deliberate “psychological violence.”
Beccuau stated that such an offense is punishable by three years in prison and a 45,000-euro fine in an interview with the French newspaper Le Parisien.
A juvenile judge will hear cases involving minors, said Beccuau.