Int Min: Terrorism threat high against France after Eiffel Tower bomb alert, Niger kidnappings

PARIS (AP) — Authorities have received an "array of clues" within the last few hours that show France is facing an elevated threat of terrorism, the interior Minister said Thursday.

Brice Hortefeux pointed to the kidnapping of five French nationals in Africa overnight and a bomb alert Tuesday that led to the evacuation of the Eiffel Tower.

"An array of clues dating from the last few days and even the last few hours show the terrorist threat is at an elevated level," said Hortefeux, flanked by top Paris police officials, during a visit to the tower. "It is a real threat."

He declined to specify what the clues were.

Hortefeux said investigators believe several people were behind the anonymous bomb threat, called in from a phone booth near Paris' Gare de Lyon railway station.

No explosives were found and the tower reopened Wednesday morning. It was again bustling with tourists, many snapping pictures of a journalists' scrum around the minister as he visited the site.

The visit to the Eiffel Tower, France's most-visited monument, was meant to reassure the public that authorities are highly vigilant. Hortefeux said he had held a meeting earlier Thursday with top French counterterrorism officials and visited a border police station at Charles de Gaulle airport.