Saudi intelligence services have warned of a new terror threat from Al Qaeda against Europe, particularly in France, Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said Sunday.
European officials were informed that "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was doubtless active or envisioned being active" on the "European continent, notably France," Hortefeux said during a joint TV and radio interview. "The threat is real," he said on RTL-LCI-Le Figaro's weekly talk show.
"We must not overestimate the threat or underestimate it," the minister said. "We are directly concerned."
French fears that it could be a target of the Maghreb affiliate of Al Qaeda are based on Paris' historic ties to the region, where it is a former colonial ruler, and recent enmity caused by such things as the French law banning burqa-style veils in streets. Al Qaeda had spoken against the measure before it became law. France also has soldiers in Afghanistan.