Credible threats see French terror alert level on high

by Emily DUNBAR on September 21, 2010

In the wake of bomb threats shutting down both the Saint-Michel metro station and the Eiffel tower last week, the French terror alert level remains high.

French intelligence agents are said to be looking for a potential female suicide bomber that is thought to be plotting an attack targeting the Paris transport system. The country is now on full scale alert after government agencies received separate and specific threats indicating a possible terrorist attack.

Rector for Paris’ Grand Mosque, Dalil Boubakeur has also been given three armed guards as officials believe there are credible threats to his safety as well. France’s interior minister, Brice Hortefeux, said that there would be no further comments made as to the nature of the threats received. Paris’ anti-terrorist court has opened a preliminary inquiry into the matter to identify the credibility of the threats.

According to a ministry of the interior spokesman, the female bomber may not even be the highest priority for the intelligence agency. Another source, said that it was suffice to say all red lights had gone off with the receipt of the threats.

Earlier last week, the minister of the interior said that the threat level was raised while he visited the freshly evacuated Eiffel tower. Similar threats over at the Saint-Michel metro station caused it to be evacuated as well.

The terror alert level has been set to ‘reinforced red’ since 5am on Thursday morning, following intelligence reports from a North African country, thought to be either Algeria or Morocco. An additional, independent source is believed to have confirmed these reports – which are linked to al-Qaida – with the French intelligence body.

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