PARIS – French police are investigating the recent theft of medical protective clothing from a hospital in Paris, the Paris public hospital administrator AP-HP has said.
The motive for the theft is unclear but it comes amid heightened fears in France over the risk of biological or chemical terrorism following the deadly Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.
The disappearance of a “limited number” of “protective clothing elements” from the Necker hospital was discovered on Nov. 18, the Assistance Publique-Hopitaux de Paris (AP-HP) said in a statement on Saturday. A report was filed the day after at the local police station, it added.
A spokeswoman for AP-HP reached by Reuters on Sunday declined to provide further details on what equipment was taken.
After the Nov. 13 attacks, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said France could face the risk of chemical or bacterial warfare in its fight against Islamist militants.
Reiterating the possible threat on Sunday, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told Europe 1 radio “all possible precautions to avoid this kind of risk have been taken.
The Necker hospital is used by patients possibly suffering from the Ebola virus and as such has a large stock of protective clothing, the AP-HP statement added.
The equipment was stored in a room locked with a code but accessible to a large number of people. It is checked once a week and security has been increased since, the statement said.