Sending Pressure Cookers from France to Tunisia Is Not a Good Idea

FedEx employees were surprised to find what appeared to be pressure cookers and detonators at France's largest airport.

Passengers pull their luggage inside a terminal building as an Air France aircraft, operated by Air France-KLM Group, stand on the tarmac beyond, at Charles de Gaulle airport, operated by Aeroports de Paris, in Paris, France, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Air France-KLM Group Chief Executive Officer Alexandre De Juniac is negotiating with unions representing cabin and ground crews at the Air France brand and Dutch division KLM, as well as pilots at the French unit, after pulling a plan to expand its Transavia low-cost arm across Europe. Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Passengers pull their luggage inside a terminal building as an Air France aircraft, operated by Air France-KLM Group, stand on the tarmac beyond, at Charles de Gaulle airport, operated by Aeroports de Paris, in Paris, France, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Air France-KLM Group Chief Executive Officer Alexandre De Juniac is negotiating with unions representing cabin and ground crews at the Air France brand and Dutch division KLM, as well as pilots at the French unit, after pulling a plan to expand its Transavia low-cost arm across Europe. Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Passengers pull their luggage inside a terminal building as an Air France aircraft, operated by Air France-KLM Group, stand on the tarmac beyond, at Charles de Gaulle airport, operated by Aeroports de Paris, in Paris, France, on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016. Air France-KLM Group Chief Executive Officer Alexandre De Juniac is negotiating with unions representing cabin and ground crews at the Air France brand and Dutch division KLM, as well as pilots at the French unit, after pulling a plan to expand its Transavia low-cost arm across Europe. Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images

France has been on edge since Islamic State terrorists killed 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13, and pushed the country into an extended state of emergency for the first time since the Algerian War.

So it’s no surprise FedEx workers at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport panicked Thursday when they found pressure cookers and detonators inside a ripped package.

Only after staff members warned authorities of the “imminent dangers,” and French officials arrived on the scene with bomb-sniffing dogs, that they realized the boxes were full of decoys.

France has been on edge since Islamic State terrorists killed 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13, and pushed the country into an extended state of emergency for the first time since the Algerian War.

So it’s no surprise FedEx workers at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport panicked Thursday when they found pressure cookers and detonators inside a ripped package.

Only after staff members warned authorities of the “imminent dangers,” and French officials arrived on the scene with bomb-sniffing dogs, that they realized the boxes were full of decoys.

Their intended destination? The U.S. Embassy in Tunisia.

As it turns out, this kind of delivery isn’t entirely uncommon, but finding an open package is. Agence France-Presse reported that a security source told the news agency this is “the first time that a package has been opened.”

Still, Frederic Petit, a representative for FedEx employees who are members of the CGT union, disparaged the unmarked transportation of fake pressure cookers as “irresponsible” while France is on regular alert for terrorist attacks.

“Nobody was aware of this cargo,” he said.

Photo Credit: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg via Getty Images

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.