France Signals Heightened Terrorist Alert

News Agencies – September 20, 2010

France is on heightened alert for possible terrorist attacks after receiving a tip-off that a female suicide bomber was planning to attack the transport system, a police source said this week. Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said France was facing a real terrorism threat as it faces a backlash from al Qaeda militants in North Africa and fears grow of an attack from home-grown cells within its borders.
A police source told Reuters the authorities had been alerted from Algeria that there was a possible threat from a female suicide bomber to the Paris metro system. France has not suffered a major attack since 1995 when the Algerian Armed Islamic Group killed eight people and wounded dozens bombing a Paris metro station.
France’s overall alert level remains unchanged at “red,” the second highest level. Opposition MPs have suggested the government may be using the “terror card” to distract from a political financing scandal embroiling the labor minister and the international uproar on the repatriation of Roma from France. The French military presence in Afghanistan and the parliament adopting a ban on full Islamic veils are also issues of contention.