Al Qaida´s activity in Europe triggered U.S. & U.K. travel alert.
Security personnel guard outside Sweden's Parliament on Friday Oct. 01, 2010. Sweden has raised the country's terror threat alert to its highest level ever because of an increased threat of terror attacks.
The Obama Administration is considering warning Americans who live, work, study, or vacation in Europe to be more vigilant.
A U.S. government official tells NPR there’s been a lot of discussion about issuing a travel alert soon because of intelligence reports indicating an increased threat of attack on American interests by Al Qaida.
Speaking on background, the official said she had not seen an alert yet, but if it goes out, it will urge U.S. citizens not to hide in their homes or hotel rooms, but simply to be extra cautious. Officials have called the threat credible, but not specific in terms of a city or landmark.
Officials are concerned Al Qaida could be plotting an attack in a public place in a European city, similar to the attacks on sites in Mumbai, India in 2008 with bombs and assault weapons.
Under a “no double standard” rule, the government is obliged to share threat information with the general public.
“This travel alert is a cumulative result of information we have received over an extended period,” one senior administration official said. “We are constantly monitoring a range of threat streams and have monitored this and others for some time.”
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley declined to comment on the matter. But he said the administration remains focused on al-Qaida threats to U.S. interests and will take appropriate steps to protect Americans.
On Friday, Sweden announced it has raised its threat alert to the highest level ever because of an increased threat of terror attacks. But Swedish security officials said there did not appear to be an immediate threat, nor did they cite any possible targets. In Britain, the security level stood at “severe” – the second highest in a five-step scale – and there were no plans of raising it further, according to a British security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The U.S. has told European leaders that the State Department alert would be intended to raise the guidance to match the information about the would-be attack that surfaced last week, the European official said.
There had not been strong opposition to the proposed alert from European leaders, the European official said.
But some U.S. allies in Europe expressed concern that the U.S. guidance might include a warning for Americans to stay away…READ MORE HERE
US counter-terrorism officials are reported to have said they believe al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama Bin Laden, were involved in a recent plot against European cities.
The plan involved launching attacks in the UK, France and Germany, intelligence sources were quoted by the Associated Press as saying.
Details of how the plan was directed by al-Qaeda’s leaders are not yet clear.
Bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders are believed to be hiding in Pakistan.
Western intelligence sources say militants planned to seize and murder hostages, similar to the attacks carried out in Mumbai in 2008.
In an effort to foil the attacks, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ramped up missile strikes from unmanned drones against militants in the Pakistani tribal regions, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier in the week, citing security officials.
US officials have been pushing Pakistan to increase their search for the militants, who are believed to be hiding in…READ MORE HERE