The FBI and U.S. Homeland Security Department said Monday they have no indication that terrorists are targeting the U.S. or its citizens as part of a new threat against Europe, after intelligence reports detailing the possible targets emerged.
Intelligence sources told Fox News that Paris and Berlin were the main targets for a potential Al-Qaida attack, and ABC News reported that at least five European airports were also on the list.
The Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, as well as the Hotel Adlon and Central Station in Berlin topped the list of targets. An official told media that the British royal family has been placed under tight security, according to Fox News.
An intelligence bulletin revealed that the FBI and U.S. Homeland Security do believe that the Al-Qaida terrorist network continues to want to attack the United States, but there is nothing pointing to anything specific, imminent or related to the European plots.
They warn law enforcement authorities to be on the lookout for suspicious activity, as it's more difficult to detect terror plots carried out by individuals or small groups.
"We are aware of, and closely monitoring, recent reporting indicating a terrorist threat to Europe," the bulletin said. "At this time, there is no indication that the reported threat is directed specifically toward the United States, its citizens, or infrastructure; however, we assess that Al-Qaida and its affiliates continue to plot against the Homeland and U.S. allies."
On Sunday, the U.S. issued an alert to Americans living in or traveling to Europe to be vigilant because of the terror plots there. Soon after, The British Foreign Office warned travelers to France and Germany that the terror threat in the countries was high.
Earlier, former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said that Americans planning trips to Europe needed to pay close attention to the security alert. The U.S. alert was one level below the most severe, which warns citizens to avoid travel altogether to places considered a target.
Chertoff, who headed the agency during George W. Bush's presidency, said the State Department's alert means tourists should take commonsense precautions, such as knowing where they are and identifying an exit strategy if necessary.
Chertoff was interviewed in the wake of the Obama administration's decision to release a travel alert Sunday in response to reports of a possible terrorist threat against Britain, France and Germany. He advises travelers to consider "where would you take shelter if something happened." And Chertoff also says: "Don't walk around with the American flag on your back."
"As you know they haven't raised the alert level here," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
"The first thing officials do when they get this kind of threat information," he said, "is to ask whether there is any connection."
French authorities recorded nine bomb alerts in the capital in September, including two at the Eiffel Tower - a threefold increase from a year earlier. No explosives were found.
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