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Venezuela - France

Air France flight grounded at Caracas after French terror tip-off

Simon Bolivar International Airport at Maiquetia near Caracas
Simon Bolivar International Airport at Maiquetia near Caracas Wikimedia Commons

French authorities have confirmed that they tipped off Venezuela about a possible bomb on board an Air France jet that was grounded at Caracas on Saturday night. The 279 passengers were expected to be put on a flight on Sunday evening.

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"French security servicess received information indicating threats on the Caracas-Paris flight," French Interior Ministry spokesperson Pierre-Henry Brandet told the AFP news agency on Sunday, and notified their Venezuelan counterparts out of "the principle of precaution".

French intelligence was still working to establish how serious the threat was, he added.

Venezuela's Interior Minister Miguel Rodriquez told state TV late on Saturday that 65 technicians, bomb experts and a canine team would perform an exhaustive search of the aircraft adn the terminal after the tip-off that explosives had been placed on a plane flying between the two capitals.

"We are going to inspect every millimetre of the plane and the flight will be reprogrammed," he said. ""We apologise to passengers for this but we are fulfilling our obligation to save lives."

The 279 passengers, who had cleared immigration, and 13 crew were prevented from boarding at the Simon Bolivar International Airport at Maiquetia, which serves Caracas.

About 100 passengers surrounded the Air France check-in on Saturday night to protest that they had not been informed of the reason for the delay nor been offered alternative transport.

Around midnight the airport announced that the flight was rescheduled for Sunday afternoon.

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