PARIS — French officials have announced that construction of an eight-foot high bulletproof glass wall around the Eiffel Tower will begin in September, after revelations that the most recent jihadist attacker may have been targeting the iconic Parisian monument.
As Breitbart News reported earlier this year, authorities decided to erect the protective wall to shield the tower from terrorist threats. Bernard Gaudillères, president of the organisation that operates the Tower, said that the bulletproof wall would “encompass most of the gardens of the Eiffel Tower.”
The decision to use bulletproof glass was meant to allow views of the Eiffel Tower from the street, while preventing would-be terrorists, as well as visitors, from approaching from any direction. Instead of walking to the monument from the street as was once the case, visitors are now obliged to enter through security checkpoints through the gardens.
The massive glass wall will cost Paris some £260 million ($330 million) according to the Sunday Times, but officials hope it will prevent the tower from taking on the appearance of a “fortress” and avoid distorting “the architectural aspects of the surroundings.”
— The Sunday Times (@thesundaytimes) June 25, 2017
Last Monday, an Islamic terrorist rammed his car into a police vehicle on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, but had been caught on film loitering near the Eiffel Tower an hour before his failed attack.
Security services suspect that the alleged terrorist Adam Lotfi Djaziri may have been planning to target the Eiffel Tower but later modified his plans and decided to ram the police vehicle instead.
CCTV surveillance cameras show Djaziri sitting in his four-door Renault Megane for about half an hour. The vehicle contained a rifle and two gas canisters. Investigators believe the 31-year-old jihadist meant to drive his car into the van full of Gendarmes and blow himself up.
Police discovered a signed letter of allegiance to the Islamic State addressed to Djaziri’s brother-in-law. Djazriri had been on the French security service’s terror list since 2015 and according to the public prosecutor of the Republic of Paris, François Molins, Djaziri wanted to join the Islamic State in Syria.
France has been under a state of emergency since the deadly November 2015 attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris, but French interior minister Gerard Collomb said that the current situation shows that a new security law is needed. The measure would “maintain a high security level” beyond the end of the state of emergency, Colomb said.
About 7 million people a year visit the emblematic Eiffel Tower, which was built for the 1889 Universal Exhibition to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. The Tower was intended to stand for just 20 years and the city of Paris currently spends some £12 million ($15.3 million) a year just to maintain it.
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