US warns of global terror threat

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WASHINGTON: The United States on Friday warned Americans to beware of “terrorist actions and violence” all over the world, following the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

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“Recent terrorist attacks, whether by those affiliated with terrorist entities, copycats, or individual perpetrators, serve as a reminder that US citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness,” the State Department said.

The advisory is an update to its “Worldwide Caution” from October 10, 2014 and comes after three days of bloodshed in France that started on Wednesday when heavily armed Islamist gunmen burst into the offices of Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people.

Four people were then killed Friday at a Jewish supermarket in Paris.

The State Department statement said that US-led coalition bombing raids on the radical Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria made US nationals and interests a target for reprisals, “especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and Asia.”

French forces killed the two brothers behind the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and an Islamist ally Friday after three blood-soaked days that left 17 other people dead and shook the nation to its core.

Police were still hunting for another suspect, the girlfriend of one of the men, early Saturday, hours after the fiery showdown with the gunmen who had kept France on edge since killing 12 people Wednesday at the offices of the satirical weekly.

The heavily armed brothers were cornered in a small town northeast of Paris while a third man took terrified shoppers hostage in a Jewish supermarket, where four died and seven were hurt including three police officers.

Explosions rang out at sunset at the two hostage sites as police moved in.

As France’s bloodiest week in decades drew to a close, the mood began to turn to one of grim national reflection.

President Francois Hollande said he would attend a march of unity in Paris on Sunday expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people as well as the leaders of countries including Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain.

Questions were also mounting over how the three men—brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, and supermarket gunman Amedy Coulibaly—had slipped through the security net after it emerged that all three were known to the intelligence agencies.

Coulibaly’s girlfriend Hayat Boumeddiene, who was wanted by police in connection with the killing Thursday of a policewoman, was still on the loose.

Hollande, meanwhile, warned the threats facing France “weren’t over”.

He described the attack on the supermarket as an “appalling anti-Semitic act” and said: “These fanatics have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”

Yemeni security sources said Said Kouachi studied in Yemen where he attended Al-Qaeda training camps.

Said appeared at various times between 2009 and 2013 in the troubled Arabian peninsula country, firstly as a student at a Sanaa university known as a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and then at Al-Qaeda training camps in the south and then at Al-Qaeda training camps in the south and southeast, the sources said.
AFP

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