PARIS -- Visitors returned to the Eiffel Tower on Tuesday night after French police closed the landmark for the second time in less than a month due to a bomb threat, witnesses said.
The tower and the surrounding Champ de Mars park were briefly evacuated after police received the alert, the fourth in the Paris region in as many weeks. A search, however, turned up nothing, police told Reuters.
The threat, which claimed a bomb had been placed at the base, was called in from a phone booth near the Paris icon, police told CNN. No further details of the threat were immediately available, but the tower reopened about 2 1/2 hours later.
Niki Cheong, a Malaysian tourist, told CNN he was standing beneath the 1,063-foot tower when police began running crime-scene tape around the base of the structure.
"Everybody was told to cross the street and move ... away from the tower," he said. The officers said only that an unspecified "problem" caused the evacuation, he said.
The tower remained illuminated, and onlookers applauded when the tower began its routine sparkling at the top of the hour, Cheong said. Tourists were allowed to return shortly before 9 p.m.
It was also the second evacuation of the Eiffel Tower and Champ de Mars due to a bomb alert -- which also failed to turn up any explosives -- in two weeks.
French security officials said last week the country was on heightened alert after receiving a tip-off of a planned suicide attack on the Paris metro.
Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said on Sept. 20 France faced a real terrorism threat due to a backlash from al Qaeda militants in North Africa, with fears growing of an attack from home-grown cells within French borders.