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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Sacre Coeur Closed When Possible Bomb Found

Aired January 14, 2003 - 14:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: A breaking news story we are following this hour, an evacuation at the Sacre Coeur in Paris, France. Officials now have found an explosive device inside that basilica. More details now.
Our Jim Bittermann on the phone from Paris -- Jim.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Kyra. Not a lot of detail, actually, but apparently a tourist found a black plastic bag which contained a number of bottles of natural gas and a gallon of gasoline and some detergent.

And the police are treating it as if it were a bomb, some kind of homemade bomb. There was no detonator found with the device, according to the reports that are coming in now. Police haven't been able to confirm this to us, but the reports are that they have found this suspicious-looking package. A tourist, rather, found it, alerted the authorities, and police were brought in, and they evacuated the Sacre Coeur cathedral.

Of course, this is a real landmark here in Paris. It dominates the skyline of the city, and it is one of those places, along with the Eiffel Tower and a number of other places, that have been under heavy guard of late with all of the fears of terrorism. This, however, does not appear to be a real serious threat. Obviously, there was some flammable liquids and flammable items in containers, but there was no detonator found. It was suggested it was not perhaps a real threat, a real immediate threat in any case -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So, will it be open for business? I mean, millions of people come through this cathedral there in Montmartre on a regular basis, Jim. What's the word? Are they going to close it down for a while, or has everything pretty much been cleared up, and they can move on with business as usual?

BITTERMANN: Well, I don't think it has cleared up quite yet. They have evacuated the cathedral, and people are still being kept away from it. Of course, it is after 8:00 here in the evening, so this is not a time when there would be a lot of people up there, actually. But in any case, I'm sure they'll want to keep it clear for a while.

PHILLIPS: All right. We'll stay on top of it. Jim Bittermann from Paris, thank you.

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