France under 'real' terror threat: minister
France is under "real" terror threat which needs "total vigilance", French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said Wednesday, after Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden threatened attacks against its nationals.
"We do know that the (terrorist) threat is real and vigilance must be total," Hortefeux told a National Assembly meeting.
Bin Laden warned France earlier Wednesday that its planned ban on the burqa, the Islamic full-face veil, in public places and its involvement in the war in Afghanistan justified violence against its nationals.
In an audio recording aired by Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden said last month's kidnapping of seven foreigners, five of them French, in the Sahara desert in northern Niger was a warning.
"As far as we know, these statements can only justify maintaining our response to the terrorist threat," said Hortefeux.
"Supposing they're authentic they would be part of various threats that have been made against our country and our nationals, abroad and in France," he added.
© 2010 AFP