The Latest: Iconic French abbey reopens after security alert

MONT-SAINT-MICHEL, France — The Latest on the evacuation of a French tourist site due to security concerns (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

France's Mont-Saint-Michel abbey has reopened after several hours of searching by police failed to locate a visitor who allegedly threatened French security services.

A trickle of tourists started returning to the Mont across a promontory that connects the popular site in the English Channel to the mainland.

French authorities evacuated tourists and others from the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey and monument on Sunday morning after hearing about the reported threat. The site was closed for about four hours.

Details of the threat were unclear, but the national gendarme service said authorities ordered the evacuation as a precaution.

The gendarme service says police have expanded their search to neighboring towns.

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12:50 p.m.

Police officers are patrolling the steep cobblestone paths leading up to the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey after the site — normally packed with tourists and pilgrims 365 days a year — was evacuated as a precaution.

French authorities cleared the popular English Channel tourist site after a visitor allegedly threatened to attack members of the country's security services on Sunday. The regional prosecutor's office has opened an investigation.

Thousands of people were affected by the evacuation, but the mood mostly was calm. Some tourists were taken out of their hotels, while others were blocked upon arrival.

Some angry South Korean tourists shouted at an organizer trying to explain the situation. Their group of 32 was turned back to Paris after being blocked from reaching Mont-Saint-Michel.

France's gendarme service says monks and nuns have been instructed to stay inside the abbey during the evacuation, while the Mont's few other residents were told to stay in their homes.

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10:40 p.m.

French officials are providing contradictory information about the circumstances of a security threat that motivated authorities to evacuate Mont-Saint-Michael as a precaution.

An official with the national gendarme service said a visitor threatened to attack French security services while riding on one of the shuttles serving the popular site.

The head of the regional administration, Jean-Marc Sabathe, told broadcaster Francetvinfo that the man made the threat when he was trying to stage a street performance and got into an argument with a cafe worker.

He says the man was caught on video surveillance cameras. Sabathe ordered house-by-house searches to verify if the suspect is still on Mont-Saint-Michel or had left the Mont.

Hotels on the Mont were being evacuated, but its few permanent residents were being told to stay indoors.

— By Angela Charlton

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11:10 a.m.

French authorities are evacuating tourists and others from the Mont-Saint-Michel abbey and monument in western France after a visitor apparently threatened to attack security services.

The national gendarme service said the man made the threat Sunday on one of the shuttles serving the site, on a peninsula in the English Channel. An official with the gendarme service said the threat was vague, but prompted authorities to order an evacuation.

Police are searching for the man who made the threat.

A shuttle service official said large crowds are being evacuated or turned away and a police helicopter is flying overhead, but the atmosphere is calm.

Both officials weren't authorized to be publicly named.

The site is one of the most visited in France, with several thousand tourists a day.

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