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US warns citizens of potential threat in Europe

world Updated: Oct 03, 2010 20:53 IST

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The US today warned its citizens travelling to Europe to guard against potential terror threats in view of intelligence reports that Pakistan-based terror outfits are planning Mumbai-type attacks in cities like London and Paris.

The 'travel alert' issued by the US State Department advised US citizens living or travelling in Europe to take more precautions about their personal security, and is a step below a formal travel warning.

Citing the potential for terrorists "to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure", the travel advisory said: "US citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when travelling".

The alert has been prompted by the volume of intelligence on possible terror threats, amid reports that Pakistan-based terror outfits are planning Mumbai-type attacks in cities across Europe.

"Current information suggests that Al-Qaida and affiliated organisations continue to plan terrorist attacks," it said.

"European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions," the alert, which expires in January next year, says.

The alert said said terrorists "may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests". A senior US official was quoted as saying by CNN, that in addition to the travel alert from the State Department, "US military installations are taking prudent precautions. This is a serious situation."

CNN said a possible backlash from the French 'burqa' ban is considered a factor in the warning. The French Senate had recently approved a law banning veils that cover the face, including the burqa, worn by some Muslim women.

Since the Mumbai terrorist strikes, law enforcement officials and intelligence agencies have been warning that there was a huge potential of such an attack being emulated in cities across the globe.

This is the first time that the intelligence agencies in Europe and the US have gathered such an information.

A major terrorist plot to target cities in UK and other European countries was unravelled recently, with intelligence agencies saying that an estimated 20 British youths were being trained in al-Qaeda run terror camps in Pakistan's tribal areas to be sent to attack their home countries.