No new holiday terror plots, German and UK officials say

Announcement contradicts US officials who say there was specific intelligence about attacks being planned against Europe.

December 17, 2010 18:48
2 minute read.
British police officers guard in London, Monday.

UK police cops terror warning 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)

LONDON  — No new, specific terror plots against Europe have emerged for the holiday season, British and German officials said Friday, contradicting earlier reports from US security experts.

A suicide bomber blew himself up last weekend in Sweden, and Iraqi officials said that captured insurgents have claimed the Stockholm bombing was part of attacks being planned by al-Qaida against the US and Europe during the Christmas season.

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A writer on an al-Qaida affiliated website, however, said the bomber was targeting an unnamed Swedish newspaper that had previously published cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad.

US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity so they could discuss security matters, said there was specific intelligence about attacks being planned against Europe during the holiday season.

US intelligence officials say they have not uncovered specific details of threats aimed at the United States,

But two British officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of their work said that although security officials are on higher alert during the holidays, there was no new specific plot. Britain's terror level has also remained unchanged.

"There has been a general threat to the UK, Germany and France," one British official said. "There have been no new developments."

A German official who also spoke on condition of anonymity said Germany knew of no new specific threat.

In October, the US State Department advised American citizens living or traveling in Europe to take more precautions following reports that terrorists may be plotting attacks on a European city, possibly a shooting spree similar to the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks in India.

Some of the plot details came from Ahmed Siddiqui, a German citizen of Afghan descent who was captured by US troops in Afghanistan in July.

British officials said elements of that plot are still being investigated, and noted that they often get threats during the holiday season.

Last year, a Nigerian man with explosives taped to his underwear tried to blow up a plane as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who had studied in London, boarded the Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit from Amsterdam.

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