Terrorist threat high for France

23rd September 2007, Comments 0 comments

23 September 2007, PARIS (AFP) - The terrorist risk for France is at a new high following threats last week from Al-Qaeda and a failed suicide attack on French nationals in Algeria, the country's senior police officer said Sunday.

23 September 2007

PARIS (AFP) - The terrorist risk for France is at a new high following threats last week from Al-Qaeda and a failed suicide attack on French nationals in Algeria, the country's senior police officer said Sunday.

"We don't want to create panic, but the threat is strong today," Frederic Pechenard, director-general of the national police told Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

"It is strong because we are involved in Lebanon and Afghanistan; because the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) has radicalised, changing its name and getting closer to Al-Qaeda; and because Algeria, which is so close to us, is going through a difficult period," he said.

Last Thursday Al-Qaeda's number two Ayman al-Zawahiri called for the "cleansing of the sons of France and Spain from Islamic north Africa". Hours later a suicide-bomber rammed his car into a convoy in eastern Algeria, wounding two French engineers and an Italian.

The French foreign ministry said it takes the Al-Qaeda threat "very seriously" and has stepped up security at diplomatic missions in north Africa.

In January the GSPC -- the main Islamist group in Algeria -- changed its name to "Al-Qaeda in Islamic north Africa". It is held responsible for a number of recent attacks, including two on September 6 and 8 which together killed 79 people.

AFP

Subject: French news

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