WASHINGTON (AP) – The State Department is warning of possible al-Qaida attacks against Americans overseas, particularly in Europe or Eurasia, in connection with the second anniversary of Sept. 11.
“We are seeing increasing indications that al-Qaida is preparing to strike U.S. interests abroad,” the State Department said in a statement distributed yesterday. The statement cited the second anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks as a concern.
American officials played down the relevance of the new Osama bin Laden videotape in the new State Department warning. Bin Laden appeared in a videotape aired on the Arab Al-Jazeera television network Wednesday.
Some taped messages from al-Qaida leaders are thought to announce a coming attack; however, intelligence officials said the latest message appeared to be a propaganda effort.
President Bush said the tape “reminds us that the war on terror goes on.”
“You can’t negotiate with these people,” Bush said. “The only way to deal with them is to find them and bring them to justice.”
Despite the warning about possible attacks abroad, U.S. officials had no plans to raise the color-code terrorism threat alert at home.
“The information and analysis that we are dealing with mostly in this report was the possibility of attacks overseas,” said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher during a press briefing.
One intelligence official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said a recent report suggested Americans in Europe could be a target. But that report provided no specifics.
In past months, al-Qaida and its affiliates have carried out bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Casablanca, Morocco, and Bali, Indonesia, the State Department said.
“We therefore assess that European or Eurasian locations could be venues for the next round of attacks, possibly to closely coincide with the” anniversary, the department said.