A plot by Islamic terrorists to blow up the Eiffel Tower has been uncovered.
A scrambled short-wave radio conversation exposing the planned attack on the world's most visited monument was picked up by Portuguese air traffic
controllers and passed on to French spy chiefs.
The 1,060ft high tower has more than six million visitors a year - an average of more than 16,000 a day.
A successful strike on the 7,500 ton iron tower, which was looked down on Paris since 1889, would be a French 9/11 and could cost thousands of lives.
The threat was uncovered in a "vague and muffled" radio conversation picked up by air traffic controllers in Lisbon on Thursday.
It comes after a spate of other threats made in recent days on the websites linked to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terror network, calling for the
"brothers of Islam to strike Paris".
A police source close to France's DST intelligance agency said last night: "It was a muffled conversation in Arabic that was passed on to us as a
matter of course, but our analysts clearly identified the threat.
"The sheer number of visitors going up the tower every day means a bomb blowing up there could cause the most massive loss of life. We've been at
our red security alert for several months."
The source added: "Security at the tower was already tight, but is now being stepped up."
Paris's socialist mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, has been given extra security protection after an Islamist website used by Al Qaeda members listed him as
Mr Delanoe - one of France's few openly gay politicians - was stabbed in an anti-gay attack in 2002.
In January 2005, French intelligence officers arrested three French-born Algerians suspected of plotting to blow up the Eiffel Tower.
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