An unnamed source said the female suicide bomber who was prevented from striking is “not necessarily the most worrying thing.” That’s saying something.
“France at ‘imminent’ risk of terrorist attack, intelligence indicates,” from Agence France-Presse, September 20 (thanks to Thomas Pellow):
AFP – France is at immediate risk of a major terror attack by Islamist radicals and has further reinforced already urgent security measures since last week, officials said Monday.
Asked about reports that an attack might be imminent, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said: “The threat is real, we have stepped up our vigilance.”
Separately, a source close to the ministry confirmed that police are probing reports that a female suicide bomber may be preparing a strike in Paris, but added: “That’s not necessarily the most worrying thing.”
The prior story linked above did not address whether the would-be bomber from last week is in custody.
Instead, he explained, Paris is concerned with intelligence received from an allied foreign spy agency that Al-Qaeda’s North African branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was planning an “imminent” attack in France.
“It’s a threat which we think might target transportation,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving further details except that the warning was received at 5:00 am (0300 GMT) on Thursday last week.
The interior ministry played down the specific risk to transport, insisting that the threat was “against totally undefined targets.”
Meanwhile, according to a police source, authorities have learned that two dormant Islamist networks in France have been revived to receive and host groups of Jihadi radicals returning from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Separately, officials from Paris’s Grand Mosque confirmed that their rector, Dalil Boubakeur, had been placed under police protection and provided with an escort as he moves about the city.
Boubakeur is a moderate figure who has worked with France’s government on issues of Muslim integration and has been threatened by radicals in the past.
The problems of defining “moderation” aside, this story from late 2004, entitled –Muslims Staking Out Their Place in Europe” discussed Boubakeur’s waning influence.
On Tuesday, hundreds of tourists were moved away from the Eiffel Tower as it was briefly evacuated following a hoax bomb threat.
France’s national terror warning plan, known as “Vigipirate”, was already at alert level “reinforced red” — one step down from the highest level, scarlet, which would represent a precise and imminent threat.
The warnings were the latest in a series given over the past 10 days since the head of France’s DCRI domestic intelligence agency, Bernard Squarcini, said France had never faced a greater “terrorist threat.”…