Police in western France have arrested a 13-year-old they believe is responsible for hundreds of bomb threats that have gripped France since the fall. The public prosecutor’s office in Rennes announced that an investigation was initiated against the student on Thursday. The student would be blamed for bomb threats throughout France, particularly against airports, courts and universities.
The student admitted that he had acted out of “playfulness” and without any political or religious intention. Although the boy sent his threats via a foreign network connection, investigators tracked him down. Initially the entire family was taken into police custody, but the parents and a brother were released because they had nothing to do with the matter.
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Frequent bomb threats had had serious consequences in France in the autumn, without the authorities being able to initially classify the threats. They began after the deadly terrorist attack by an Islamist on a teacher in northern France and the start of the Gaza war. No specific threat or political connections were identified. In many cases, young people were identified as responsible. According to police, videos of the evictions from schools were viewed millions of times on social networks. Threats sometimes brought airports to a standstill for days in a row, and the tourist hotspot Palace of Versailles was also affected more often.
The student who has now been caught is accused of making at least 380 bomb threats, as the newspaper “Le Parisien” reported. Prosecutor Philippe Astruc said the threats that have already been reliably attributed to the student, for example against the Rennes train station and two editorial offices of the regional newspaper “Ouest France”, occurred between December 28th and January 10th. A one-year educational measure has already been imposed on the student, who has a severe personality disorder.
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