France foiled an Islamist terrorist plot to target the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and even a nuclear power plant, it emerged on the 9 Jul 14 as the country unveiled new, tougher anti-terror rules. French police stumbled on the plans after decrypting coded messages between a 29-year-old Algerian butcher living in the Vaucluse, southern France, known only as Ali M, and one of the highest-ranking members in al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. In Apr 13 the married father of two who went by the pseudonym Abu Jaji was asked by his AQIM contact, whose web alias was Redouane18, to make “suggestions concerning how to conduct jihad in the place you are currently”. Ali M suggested targeting nuclear power plants, “planes at the moment of take-off”, and a string of French landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum in Paris. Failing that, he suggested launching terror attacks on “the modest and poor French population” in markets or nightclubs, as well as police patrols. In an apparent reference to the famed Avignon theatre festival, he also singled out “cultural events that take place in the south of France in which thousands of Christians gather for a month”. “The main walkways become black with people and a simple grenade can injure dozens of people, not to mention a booby trapped device,” he said. His contact then asked him to travel with a fellow would-be terrorist to Algeria to “benefit from a military training and training in combat techniques”. After that, he would return to France, stake out targets and “await your instructions”. He claimed to be ready and prepared. Although the plans were still at the discussion stage, French police arrested the Algerian in Jun 13 a month before he was due to fly to Tunisia and then onto Algeria for training.
30 Mar 13 the Eiffel Tower was evacuated after a telephone threat claiming an explosive device was there.
01 May 13 Police received a telephone message stating there was an explosive device on the round-about at Place de I’Etoile.
361 reported that French authorities had arrested nine people who where thought to be plotting terrorist attacks and belonging to a jihad network.
09 Aug 13 the Eiffel Tower was evacuated after French authorities received a bomb threat.
Spain – On the 9 Jul 14 it was reported that there were 837 terrorism investigations underway in Spain, of which 368 involve Islamist groups, according to Spanish counter-terrorism sources. The Interior Ministry considers that the risk of a new Islamist attack in Spain is “high,” and the government has activated a Level 2 alert because of the “probable risk of an attack.” On the 11 Mar 04 Islamists blew up several commuter trains in Madrid, killing 192 people and injuring 1,858. Before that, in April 1985, another Islamist bomb attack killed 18 people at a Madrid restaurant. Most of the National Police and Civil Guard investigations into jihadist activities are taking place in Barcelona, Madrid, Córdoba, Málaga and Ceuta. The regions of Catalonia and Andalusia have the greatest number of apartments and business premises under surveillance. Of the 368 investigations into Islamist terrorism, 234 are fully active while 134 are in a “latent” state, awaiting further developments. “Taking into account the population and size of the regions, Catalonia is where the bulk of this police effort is being aimed,” says the counter-terrorism report. The regional Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, have their own anti-terrorism units working on detecting Islamist activities. Around 20 percent of the investigations are not assigned to any specific geographical location because they are taking place online, particularly on jihadist websites, which make it difficult to know where the suspects are located. The main hubs of radical Islam activities are in Catalonia, the Mediterranean and the exclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa. The greatest threat comes from local self-radicalized groups and lone wolves, who find inspiration in the idea of global jihad preached by Al Qaeda. But authorities are chiefly concerned about Islamist combatants returning home after fighting in Syria and Mali. In 2013, law enforcement agencies opened 97 new lines of investigation into terrorism in general. Besides Islamists, other targets of police inquiries include the Basque terrorist group ETA, and anarchist and anti-system groups.
United Kingdom/United States – Security was being stepped up at British airports amid fears that terrorists are working on a bomb that could sidestep current measures it was reported on the 3 Jul 14. The move comes after the United States called for heightened precautions amid reports two terror networks are working together on a bomb that could evade existing security measures. The Government highlighted the importance of vigilance but said the extra measures - which have not been disclosed - are not expected to cause "significant disruption" to passengers, and the Department for Transport (DfT) said the official UK threat status remains unchanged. Changes to security measures were announced after Washington Homeland Security Secretary Johnson ordered beefed up security at foreign airports from where aircraft fly directly to the US, reportedly as a result of intelligence that groups in Yemen and Syria had joined forces to plot an attack. Later American officials have ordered some overseas airports with direct flights to the US to intensify screening of electronic devices. Transport officials said in a statement, passengers could be asked to switch on devices, and equipment that does not power up would not be allowed on board. Analysts say the changes appear to be in response to intelligence that Islamic militants in Syria and Yemen are developing bombs that could evade airport security. "During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones," it said. "Powerless devices will not be permitted on board the aircraft. The traveller may also undergo additional screening."
Two petrol bombs have been thrown at a police station in Belfast. No one was injured in the attack on Willowfield station in the east of the city late on the 13 Jul 14. The flames did not cause any damage to the property. Police said the bombs were thrown at the station from the direction of Willowfield Drive at around 2340 hrs. The incident was very low level and may be due to some faction attempting to start trouble with the marching season.