France stays vigilant after US travel alert
France said on Sunday that it was staying vigilant and had taken into consideration the US State Department's warnings on travelling in Europe because of "the potential for terrorist attacks".
"We are working in close cooperation with all services and countries concerned," Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said. "We are of course vigilant and taking into consideration what our American ally can tell us."
Special measures had been taken, Hortefeux assured during a visit to the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris to discuss security and the fight against hooligans, but he added that people should still stay on alert.
In a statement, foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said the US vigilance recommendations were "in line with the general recommendations we ourselves make to the French population".
The US State Department earlier Sunday alerted "US citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe... current information suggests that Al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks".
The alert urged US nationals to take precautions in public places and transportation systems amid reports of a planned Al-Qaeda commando strike on European cities similar to the deadly raids on Mumbai in 2008.
"The terrorist threat in France remains high, the alert level is unchanged at level red," Valero said. "Dialogue and intelligence exchanges with our main partners in the fight against terrorism are regular.
"Indications from the American authorities, particularly concerning the terrorist threat in Europe, are of course analysed, cross-referenced and if necessary taken into account in our national threat assessment, which is always drawn from a number of elements," Valero said.
French authorities have been on the alert for several weeks, with bomb scares briefly shutting down the Eiffel Tower and train stations.
© 2010 AFP