Terrorist threat 'no higher than six months ago'

11th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 10 (AFP) - The terrorist threat in Europe is high but no higher than six months ago, the French armed forces chief of staff General Henri Bentegeat said Sunday, stressing that "our democracies are living permanently under this threat."

PARIS, July 10 (AFP) - The terrorist threat in Europe is high but no higher than six months ago, the French armed forces chief of staff General Henri Bentegeat said Sunday, stressing that "our democracies are living permanently under this threat."

After Thursday's bomb attacks on London public transport, the general said on France Inter radio, that "the first targets" were "countries which took part in the war in Iraq."

"France is not involved (in Iraq), but France is very active in the fight against terrorism. France is present in Afghanistan, therefore she is also under threat."

He emphasised that "the nebulous Al-Qaeda network attacks everywhere everything which represents democracy and freedom."

On whether he believed Al-Qaeda's head Osama bin Laden was alive or dead, the general said: "We have no recent proof that he is still alive."

But, he said, "even if he is not, there is always the network of his former lieutenants still functioning at the head of Al-Qaeda."

According to Bentegeat, "Bin Laden has narrowly slipped through the net several times." He said it would take "another two or three years" for Afghanistan to find any stability.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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