EUROPE The United States and the UK are among numerous Western governments to have issued travel alerts in recent days warning of nonspecific threats against European tourists and landmarks by al-Qaeda.
The alerts do not warn against travel to Europe, but they caution travelers to remain vigilant, especially in popular tourist areas. The U.S. alert “is based on information about potential threats in Europe,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says. “We certainly know that al-Qaeda and its affiliates seek to do us harm.”
The U.S. alert, which remains in effect through January, encourages Americans to register with local consulates abroad and to take common-sense precautions. The UK’s Foreign Office has raised the threat level for Germany and France specifically from general to high.
Security analysts believe al-Qaeda, the Islamic militant group headed by Osama bin Laden, may be planning an attack in Europe similar to the 2008 attack on Mumbai that left at least 173 people dead.
Fox News reports that a list of potential targets includes the 5-star Hotel Adlon Kempinski near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, along with the Eiffel Tower and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
In Paris, the famed Eiffel Tower has been evacuated thrice in the past three weeks due to terrorism worries. The landmark is being patrolled by armed soldiers.