Amplify’d from www.jihadwatch.org
PARIS - France has stepped up its vigilance against terror threats, a top official announced Monday amid reports of various new threats, including one against the Paris transport network.
"The terrorist threat is real and today our vigilance, therefore, is reinforced," Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said during a visit to the Seine-et-Marne region east of Paris. He did not elaborate on the additional security measures taken.
In the last few days, there has been a false bomb alert at the Eiffel Tower and five French workers and two African colleagues have been kidnapped in Niger, part of the African turf of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
Last week, the Senate voted to ban burqa-style Islamic veils in France, a subject that has prompted warnings by al-Qaida's Maghreb group.
Armed guards have been assigned to the rector of the Grande Mosque of Paris, the prominent moderate Dalil Boubakeur, since Friday, because of a new threat, according to the mosque spokesman.
The three guards are with him "morning, noon and evening," spokesman Slimane Nadour said Monday by telephone, adding "we have no information on the nature of the threat."
It was not immediately clear whether other figures in France were recently given special protection.
RTL radio, citing sources close to the Interior Ministry, reported Monday that French authorities received information early Thursday about a possible suicide bombing attack by a woman apparently on the Paris transport system. Authorities received the alert from French and North African sources, RTL reported.
So credible was the information that Hortefeux canceled a two-day visit outside Paris, and security agents searched the transport system throughout the day but came up empty-handed, RTL said.
That same day, however, Hortefeux held an unusual news conference under the Eiffel Tower to announce that France faced an elevated risk of terrorism.
"An array of clues dating from the last few days and even the last few hours show the terrorist threat is at an elevated level," Hortefeux said at the time. "It is a real threat."
The Interior Ministry would not comment Monday on the radio report.
French authorities were alerted to threats by Islamist radicals in notes last week by intelligence agents that evoke an "anti-French focus" by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, the daily Le Monde reported on Monday....Read more at www.jihadwatch.org
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