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Paris police arrest 3 Al-Jazeera journalists for flying drone

25 February 2015 23:25

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Three Al-Jazeera journalists have been arrested in Paris after flying a drone from a park on the edge of the city.

The foreign nationals aged 70, 54, and 36 were taken into custody Wednesday afternoon after police spotted a drone flying in the Bois de Boulogne woods in western Paris, said Paris prosecutors’ spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre.

The arrests came amid a police investigation into a series of mysterious drone sightings over the Eiffel Tower and central Paris landmarks. Drones have been seen five times over the capital in the past two nights.

The investigation was launched on Monday night as a drone was seen over the US Embassy in Paris.

Under the French law the three journalists can be held for a maximum of 24 hours. According to the law flying drones without holding a license is illegal and the defiant would be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison and a fine of $85,000 (€75,000).

The incidents came as Paris is coping with a high alert security situation after January terrorist attacks in the city that left 20 people dead.

A series of attacks across the Île-de-France region from January 7 to January 9 killed 17 people as well as the three ISIL-linked gunmen involved in the assaults on the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo weekly and a supermarket.

Mysterious drone flights

Several mysterious drones have been spotted over Paris and other cities in France during past months.

On January 20, a drone was seen flying briefly over the French Presidential Palace in the central Paris.

Back in October and November a mysterious spate of drone flights was reported over French nuclear plants.

Two women and a man were reportedly arrested near the Belleville-sur-Loire nuclear plant in the Cher region south of the capital in connection with the drone overflights.

French law bans aircraft of all types from flying within five kilometers of nuclear facilities. However, there had been at least 15 reports of drone sighting over nuclear reactors across France last October, raising concerns over the country’s nuclear safety.

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