Parisians alarmed by sonic boom by warplane


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image captionA French military plane Rafale, pictured here in 2018, was dispatched in Paris on Tuesday

A French military plane broke the sound barrier and startled Parisians after it was scrambled to aid a commercial aircraft which had lost radio contact.

Players at the French Open Grand Slam tennis tournament paused play in astonishment.

The capital has been on edge after a knife attack last week deemed a terrorist act by authorities.

This time French police hastened to urge residents fearful of an explosion not to call emergency services.

“A Rafale, carrying out an intervention to assist an aircraft that had lost contact, was authorised to break the sound barrier to reach the aircraft in difficulty,” an Air Force spokesman told AFP news agency.

The spokesman did not provide further detail about whether the incident with the aircraft in difficulty was resolved.

The loud noise shook windows around the city and suburbs of Paris and caused alarm to residents.

At Roland Garros, tennis players

Stan Wawrinka and Dominik Koepfer paused their game

as the sound echoed around the court.

“A very loud noise was heard in Paris and in the Paris region. It was not an explosion, it was a fighter jet crossing the sound barrier,”

French police wrote on Twitter

on Tuesday lunchtime, urging people not to call.

Last Friday, a man with a knife cleaver attacked and wounded two people in the street outside the former office of controversial satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

It came as a high-profile trial was under way of 14 people accused of helping two jihadists carry out the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, in which 12 people were killed.

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