'Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace among terror targets'

Report lists several European landmarks as potentially risky sites; "No indication US or its citizens target of Europe terror plot," says FBI.

By JPOST.COM STAFF, AP
October 4, 2010 15:53
3 minute read.
soldiers patrol around the Louvre museum, Paris

Louvre museum Paris 311. (photo credit: AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)

In the wake of the US travel warning urging Americans to be more alert on their travels in Europe, new information has been released detailing a list of suspected terror target sites.

Fox News reported that the possible targets include famous European landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Berlin's Brandenburg Gate and Central Station, as well as London's Buckingham Palace.

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The FBI and Homeland Security Department said Monday that they have no indication that terrorists are targeting the US or its citizens as part of a new threat against Europe.

According to an intelligence bulletin obtained by The Associated Press, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security said they do believe that the al-Qaida terrorist network continues to want to attack the United States, but there was nothing pointing to anything specific, imminent or related to the European plots.

They warned law enforcement authorities to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, as it's more difficult to detect terror plots carried out by individuals or small groups.

"We are aware of, and closely monitoring, recent reporting indicating a terrorist threat to Europe," the bulletin said. "At this time, there is no indication that the reported threat is directed specifically toward the United States, its citizens, or infrastructure; however, we assess that al-Qaida and its affiliates continue to plot against the Homeland and US allies."

Also responding to the travel warnings, a US official told ABC News that the lobbies of five major Europeans airports may be targeted in the suspected terror plot.

ABC News also quoted Pakistan's Ambassador Husain Haqqani as saying that "several people" involved in the plot had been identified and targeted.

Japan issued a travel alert for Europe on Monday, joining the United States and Britain in warning of a possible terrorist attack by al-Qaida or other groups, but tourists appeared to be taking the mounting warnings in stride.

The Foreign Ministry in Tokyo urged Japanese citizens to be cautious when using public transport or visiting popular tourist sites — issuing another blow to Europe's tourism industry, which is just starting to recover from the global financial crisis.

European authorities — especially in Britain, France and Germany — tightened efforts to keep the public safe in the wake of warnings by officials that the terrorism threat is high and extra vigilance is warranted.

Last week, a Pakistani intelligence official said eight Germans and two British brothers were at the heart of an al-Qaida-linked terror plot against European cities, but the plan was still in its early stages, with the suspects calling acquaintances in Europe to plan logistics. The official said the suspects were hiding in North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal region where militancy is rife and where the US has increased its drone-fired missile strikes in recent weeks.

Security officials say terrorists may be plotting attacks in Europe with assault weapons on public places, similar to the deadly 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, India. European officials have provided no details about specific targets.

On Monday, French police arrested a 53-year-old man suspected of links to a bomb threats including one Friday at a Paris railway hub, an official with knowledge of the investigation said on condition of anonymity. The suspect, who was not identified, was detained southwest of the capital for possible links to a phone-in threat at the Saint-Lazare train station.

French authorities recorded nine bomb alerts in the capital in September, including two at the Eiffel Tower — a threefold increase from a year earlier. No explosives were found.

Business travelers and tourists arriving Monday at Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport from the United States said they were aware of the new warnings but weren't changing their plans.


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