Monday, October 4, 2010

UK Guardian-Growing Fears of an Al-Qaida Attack In Europe

The Eiffel Tower in Paris: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images
(Story reported by Ed Pilkington and Richard Norton-Taylor for the UK Guardian)

Fears of a terrorist attack in Europe were heightened today after travel alerts were issued by both Washington and London, with the US state department warning that public transport systems and tourist attractions could be targeted, and Britain increasing the threat level for travel to Germany and France.

The US alert made no mention of a specific European country, but pointed the finger at al-Qaida and its affiliates and suggested both official and private targets could be in terrorists' sights.

The move follows speculation that al-Qaida was planning a "commando-style" attack similar to the 2008 Mumbai massacre, in which 166 people were killed.

The Foreign Office listed both France and Germany as facing a high threat of terrorism, raising its previous classification of a general threat. It said attacks could target places frequented by tourists.

However, well-placed British sources described intelligence about potential commando-style attacks as "ill-defined".

In a separate move, the home secretary, Theresa May, said the threat level for Britain had not changed, remaining severe, meaning an attack is "highly likely". She said the UK and US were in agreement as to what was going on. "I would urge the public to report suspicious activity to the police in support of the efforts of our security services to discover, track and disrupt terrorist activity," she said.

(Click here to read the full story on the UK Guardian website.)

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