25 JUNE 2008

As France's First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has experienced the glamour, excitement and royal invitations which go hand-in-hand with being the president's wife. This week, however, the former model experienced a more serious side to her new role, as she and husband Nicolas Sarkozy were caught up in what initially appeared to be a security scare as they prepared to fly out of Israel following their three-day official visit.

Prior to boarding their plane, the former model-turned-singer was taking part in a farewell ceremony with her premier husband when they were suddenly surrounded by security staff and rushed aboard their aircraft. While fleet-footed Carla raced up the steps to the plane, Mr Sarkozy, who seemed unsure as to what had happened, followed more slowly.

A shot had been heard and, fearing an assassination attempt, security staff acted quickly to also usher Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres into their cars. However, it emerged the incident - in which a member of the Israeli forces took his own life - was unrelated to the high-profile couple's presence, and the two Israeli statesmen returned to the Sarkozys' plane to bid farewell to Carla and her husband.

Photo: ©
Carla sprints up the steps to the couple's plane while her husband pauses, seemingly unsure what has happened, after a shot rang out during a farewell ceremony for the couple at Israel's Ben Gurion airportPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: ©
Prior to the incident, the pair had been taking part in a ceremony with prime minister Ehud Olmert to wind up their three-day visit to the countryPhoto: © Getty Images