Islamic State Plans To Attack American and French Subways, Iraqi PM Says
Iraq's prime minister on Thursday said his government has received credible intelligence of Islamic State attacks on American and French population, but U.S. and French officials found no evidence to confirm any specific threat.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abad told reporters in New York that the Islamist group, also known for its Arabic name, Daesh, has plans to attack Paris and U.S. metros.
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He said he received the intelligence on Thursday morning from captured Islamic State fighters in Iraq and confirmed the planned attacks after requesting further "credible information."
The terror attacks, al-Abad said, were planned from within Iraq by the group's networks. The prime minister declined to provide further details.
One Iraqi official who was with al-Abad for the United Nations General Assembly later told reporters that Baghdad intelligence agency had uncovered "serious" terror threats. The unnamed official said the information was already relayed to Iraq's allies.
U.S. and French authorities have mobilized security, transit and intelligence personnel to secure the safety of their citizens in response to al-Abad's claim. New York officials rushed to subway stations to reassure millions of daily commuters that the city was safe. Police officers patrolling the city's subway system were also increased.
However, some Iraqi officials who spoke on condition of anonymity disproved the prime minister's information, saying that the intelligence was "ancient" and "an old story," reported Reuters.
Deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, confirmed with reporters on board Air Force One with U.S. President Barack Obama that no specific threats were uncovered. He added that U.S. officials will "certainly take seriously any information" of terrorist plots or activities from Iraqi intelligence.
Likewise, unspecified French security services told Reuters that no information was uncovered to back the prime minister's claim.
On Thursday, French authorities announced that the country would increase its public security personnel following the beheading of a French tourist by an al-Qaeda affiliate terrorist group in Algeria.
Both countries have launched airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq in recent weeks as part of the U.S.-led campaign against the Sunni terror group that has seized a third of Syrian and Iraqi territories.