Fox, the WSJ, and several outlets reporting:
A commando-style terror plot that allegedly called for simultaneous attacks in multiple European cities has been disrupted, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Fox News late Tuesday, after the CIA launched a barrage of drone strikes in Pakistan to help thwart the plot.
The plan allegedly included attacks on hotels frequented by Western tourists in London, as well as cities in France and Germany, and was in an “advanced but not imminent stage,” Sky News reported. The plotters were purportedly of Pakistani or Algerian origin and have been trained in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
While officials are still working to understand the plot, a leading concern is that the plotters were modeling their European assault on the 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, in which armed gunmen killed more than 200 people in coordinated attacks at hotels and other easily accessed venues, current and former officials said.
Several U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal they haven’t seen a terror threat as serious as the European plot for many years. “This isn’t just your typical Washington talk about how the threats have evolved. People are very concerned about what they’re seeing,” the counterterrorism official said.
“There have been a succession of terror operations we’ve been dealing with over recent weeks but one to two that have preoccupied us,” said one British government official who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of his work. “Still, it hasn’t been to the degree that we have raised the threat level.”
The CIA had stepped up drone strikes in Pakistan in an effort to help thwart the plot. The more than 20 strikes this month represent a monthly record, according to a tally by the New America Foundation.
“We know [Al Qaeda] wants to attack Europe and the United States,” Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a statement late Tuesday. “We continue to work closely with our European allies on the threat from international terrorism, including Al Qaeda.”