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Terror alert issued in Europe

By CLAUDE SALHANI   |   May 5, 2002 at 12:34 PM   |   Comments

PARIS, May 5 (UPI) -- Le Journal du Dimanche reports Sunday that Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network is preparing to kidnap hundreds of people throughout Europe over the next few days.

The aim of the operation would be to acquire a number of European hostages and then exchange them for Islamic activists currently being held in various European cities, the Paris-based paper reported.

The newspaper cited Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, and French intelligence sources in its report.

According to the report, about 30 members of al Qaida from Iraq, Iran, Yemen and Sudan are preparing to strike targets in France, Great Britain and Germany and take a large numbers of hostages in each country.

The plan, according to Le Journal du Dimanche, is to kidnap about 300 to 400 people in each country by taking control of crowds in places such as cinemas, churches, or even by hijacking cruise ships sailing in the Mediterranean.

The report said the terrorists are prepared to kill themselves along with their hostages.

The paper added that the intelligence was acquired by BKA, the German intelligence agency, in Pakistan and was immediately shared with other European agencies.

Germany has already dismantled at least three terrorist cells operating on its territory since Sept. 11, including one believed to be connected to the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks.

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