The Interior Ministry confirmed Sunday that an Air France bomb threat was taken very seriously after security agencies in France alerted Venezuela that a terrorist group might be planning to detonate an explosive device in midair, Fox News reported on Dec. 15.
The Air France bomb threat prompted officials to ground the Paris-bound flight. Under the precautionary principle, the information was sent to the Venezuelan authorities who then conducted the search of the Air France plane.
“We don’t want to speculate on the motives because the information comes directly from French intelligence services,” Venezuelan Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez told media outlets.
The Air France bomb threat occurred on the night that the flight was scheduled to depart from Caracas to Paris Saturday. The Air France flight was delayed following the warning by the French authorities.
Regarding the Air France bomb threat incident, Rodgrizuez issued the following statement:
"It was assumed that an explosive had been placed on a plane to detonate in flight between Caracas-Paris or Paris-Caracas,"
"So far the information we have is the intent of a terrorist group to place an explosive on a France to Venezuela flight," he explained.
Reportedly, 65 members of the intelligence service performed a "thorough inspection" of the aircraft and the terminal of the airport.
A spokesman for Air France said in Paris that the flight had been delayed before the passengers boarded the plane. In total, 279 people were to board the plane along with 13 crew members. The Air France flight was rescheduled for Sunday evening.
Prior to the Air France bomb threat, drug trafficking was recently uncovered on the Caracas-Paris route,. The discovery of a shipment of 1.3 tons of cocaine on an Air France flight from Caracas was made in Sept. by the French authorities. The drug was distributed in thirty bags.
According to Venezuelan authorities, 25 people were charged in Venezuela as part of the case, including the Air France onsite manager and five soldiers.
The Air France bomb threat incident is currently being investigated and updates will be posted as they are made available.