(RTTNews) – Saudi Arabian authorities have informed France about a new threat from al-Qaeda, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux disclosed on Monday.
Quoting Saudi intelligence agencies, Hortefeux said the alert spoke of an imminent al-Qaeda threat to Europe, France in particular. “This is not about overestimating the threat or underestimating it. I am indicating, based on all these elements, that the threat is real,” he added.
His remarks came during a joint TV and Radio interview during which he also revealed that Paris had been told to specifically watch out for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an off-shoot of the global terror outfit.
The AQAP, an entity after merging the Yemeni and Saudi units of al-Qaeda, has been blamed for several deadly attacks in the Arab world.
AQAP which has been based in Yemen since 2006, has several Saudi and Yemeni nationals in its ranks. The group is also suspected to be behind the botched Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner by young Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
However, the latest threat conveyed to France is not connected to an earlier one issued in September.
The French Republic has remained insulated from any major terrorist strikes after the 1995 bombing of the Paris metro station by an Algerian armed Islamic group killed eight people and wounded some 36.
In September, Europe was warned of a possible terrorist attack and the plot was said to be modeled on the lines of the November 2008 serial attacks on India’s commercial capital Mumbai allegedly carried out by Pakistan-backed militants. Around 166 people were killed in the three-day stand-off.
Meanwhile, the increase in attacks by suspected U.S. drone aircraft in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt bordering Afghanistan is seen as part of an attempt to weed out militants. The volatile region is regarded by western terror experts as a stronghold of Islamist militants.