Various news sources are reporting that the French authorities are on the hunt for a woman who threatened to blow herself up in a ‘busy part of Paris’. Apparently a specific threat has been confirmed, based on intelligence received from a North African source that an Algerian was planning to attack French public transport., specifically on Thursday of this week. Presumably this threat originates from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), though I can’t recall them using female attackers before. The French have been on heightened alert for some time, with bomb scares at the Eiffel Tower and a metro station last the week. The Guardian reports that:
France fears the threat is heightened by the return to France of Islamist extremists who have been waging jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is also anger over the planned ban on wearing the burqa in public places, the presence of French troops in Afghanistan, and a French commando attack on an al-Qaida base in Mali in July, which led to the death of seven members of the organisation’s north African branch.
Further to the latter, the excellent The Moor Next Door blog has a detailed overview of recent fighting between Mauritanian security forces and AQIM militants in Mali.
- France raises Paris terror alert over al-Qaeda warning (telegraph.co.uk)
- France on high alert on ‘credible’ terror attack threats (theglobeandmail.com)
- Mauritania Says 12 Qaeda Fighters Killed In Clash (nytimes.com)
- Reports: Eiffel Tower Bomb Threat Was False Alarm (abcnews.go.com)