Paris is on alert amid fears Islamist terrorists could be plotting to poison the city’s water supply.
The French Army is guarding water facilities around the French capital while scientists carry out tests following the theft of equipment used to guard against chemical attacks, including protective suits, from a hospital.
Célia Blauel, president of Paris Water, confirmed that samples were being analysed and authorities had increased the amount of chlorine in the water to limit the risk of contamination.
There is always a certain amount of chlorine in the water supply for health reason, but the dose has now been raised. “When the chlorine level drops, it means there is biological contamination,” Ms Blauel said.
“The chlorine level is controlled throughout the network. This allows us – if necessary – to precisely isolate the affected area without disrupting the entire network.”
The Mail on Sunday reports that the alert comes after twelve protective suits used to protect against chemicals and biological agents were stolen from Paris’s Necker hospital complex. Protective boots also went missing, along with masks and gloves.
“The disappearance was noticed on Wednesday and a complaint has been filed,” a hospital spokesman said.
Meanwhile, a British chemical specialist told the paper that Britain was also “very vulnerable” to a terror attack on its water supply.
“Either by injecting a toxin into a pipe system, or by putting a large quantity of a toxic into a reservoir, the terrorists could pose a major threat,” he said.
“IS’s chemical knowledge is improving fast and it would be a nightmare for the British Army or police to protect every reservoir or treatment works in this country.”
Last week, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said a chemical or biological attack was a real possibility. Addressing the French parliament, Mr Valls said: “We must not rule anything out. I say it with all the precautions needed. But we know and bear in mind that there is also a risk of chemical or bacteriological weapons.”