Paris: France is at immediate risk of a major terror attack by Islamist radicals and has further reinforced already urgent security measures since last week, officials said on Monday.
Asked about reports that an attack might be imminent, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said: "The threat is real; we have stepped up our vigilance." Separately, a source close to the ministry confirmed that police are probing reports that a female suicide bomber may be preparing a strike in Paris, but added: "That's not necessarily the most worrying thing."
Instead, he explained, Paris is concerned with intelligence received from an allied foreign spy agency that Al-Qaeda's North African branch, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), was planning an "imminent" attack in France.
"It's a threat which we think might target transportation," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity and without giving further details except that the warning was received at 0500 am (0300 GMT) on Thursday last week.
The interior ministry played down the specific risk to transport, insisting that the threat was "against totally undefined targets." Meanwhile, according to a police source, authorities have learned that two dormant Islamist networks in France have been revived to receive and host groups of Jihadi radicals returning from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
First Published: Monday, September 20, 2010, 19:06