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Bomb Threat Delays French Trains

March 9, 2004

PARIS (AP) _ Trains to central France, Spain and Belgium were delayed Monday night after French authorities received a bomb threat from a woman claiming to be part of a group that had made similar threats last week.

Searches of rail tracks around the central city of Poitiers, which the caller said would be targeted, turned up no trace of a bomb and traffic resumed by 11:20 p.m. after a two-hour halt, said Francoise Le Goareguer, a spokeswoman for France’s rail authority, SNCF.

Trains between Paris and Bordeaux were delayed, as well as a train from Paris to Barcelona and another from Brussels to Bordeaux.

Le Goareguer said a woman caller phoned police in Poitiers around 9 p.m., saying a bomb would explode at the Poitiers train station two hours later. The station was immediately evacuated and searches were conducted throughout the area.

The caller identified herself as a member of AZF, a previously unknown terror group that claims to have planted nine bombs along the country’s rail network and has threatened to explode them unless it is paid millions of dollars.

Last week, after the government made the threats public, some 10,000 maintenance workers to inspect thousands of miles of track. The government has said it is trying to renew contact with AZF after losing touch last week.

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