French minister says al-Qaida poses biggest risk in France
PARIS – Saudi intelligence services have warned of a new terror threat from al-Qaida against Europe, particularly in France, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said Sunday.
He said the warning of a potential attack by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was received “in the last few hours, few days.”
European officials were informed that “al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was doubtless active or envisioned being active” on the “European continent, notably France,” Hortefeux said during a joint TV and radio interview.
“The threat is real,” he said on RTL-LCI-Le Figaro’s weekly talk show.
The warning from Saudi Arabia is the latest in a series of alerts that have put French security forces and others in high-vigilance mode.
On Sept. 9, Interpol, the international police organization, signaled an “Islamist threat on a world scale, and notably on the European continent,” Hortefeux said without elaborating. That was followed by a Sept. 16, report of a woman suicide bomber who could take action in France – later judged not fully credible.
Intelligence sources in North Africa also contacted France about a potential threat, as did the United States, he said. He said he had spoken at length with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Meanwhile, a Yemeni official said Sunday that warplanes bombed al-Qaida hide-outs in the country’s south, killing five militants.