News / Europe

Europeans, Tourists Take Terror Threats in Stride

Soldiers patrol at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, France, 04 Oct 2010
Soldiers patrol at Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, France, 04 Oct 2010

Concern is growing about possible terrorist strikes in Europe.  The United States, Britain, France and Japan issued travel warnings this week and on Tuesday French authorities arrested a dozen suspects with possible ties to Islamist extremists.

St. Lazare train station in Paris, a major travel hub that was briefly evacuated last week following a bomb alert that proved to be a hoax.  Authorities have also twice evacuated another Paris landmark, the Eiffel Tower, as concern grows across Europe of a major terrorist attack.

But those worries have not stopped 22-year-old French student Marion Hebert from commuting regularly to Paris from her home city of Rouen, via St. Lazare.

Hebert says she is not overly concerned about terrorism alerts because French are always hearing about a new threat.

Police patrol sealed-off entrance to the street where the British embassy is situated in Berlin on 05 Oct 2010
Police patrol sealed-off entrance to the street where the British embassy is situated in Berlin on 05 Oct 2010

Alerts issued earlier this week by the United States, Britain, France and Japan warned their citizens traveling in various parts of Europe.  The warnings are vague.  The United States, for example, has generally warned Americans to avoid major tourist attractions and transportation hubs.

News reports suggest authorities are concerned about al-Qaida attacks in Europe similar to the 2008 strikes in Mumbai, India.

On Tuesday, authorities in southern France arrested a dozen people with suspected ties to Islamist extremists.  It is not immediately clear if the arrests were linked to the latest terrorism concerns.

But the fears have not changed the travel plans of one American retiree, Roy, who was waiting for a train at St. Lazare with a group of friends.

"It is something to be aware of.  We are not really worried about it.  We are just trying to be vigilant, pay attention.  It has not changed our plans," he said.

Same response from one South Korean tourist, who gave her name as Amy.  She was heading into Galleries Lafayette, a Paris department store that is popular among tourists.

"I heard today, this morning, in the news.  I heard it is kind of dangerous right now, but I am not really worried," said Amy.

In London, international security expert Bob Ayers notes city residents are no stranger to terrorist strikes, having weathered those by the Irish Republican Army as well as the 2005 bombings by Islamist extremists on London's mass transit.

"The Londoners became very familiar with it.  It is nothing anybody welcomes or relishes but you learn to live through it," said Ayers.  "Even when we had the two bombings [in 2005] several years back, the Londoners got back on the tubes the next day and went back to work."

French and Spaniards are also hardened by terrorist strikes in their countries, both by Islamist extremists and nationalist groups.  And, Ayers says, there really is not much the public can do to respond to these latest warnings.

"I am not sure there are any precautions that are possible to take.  If the terrorists are targeting national monuments, if they are targeting places where people congregate like restaurants, supermarkets, the bank, athletic events - the only way to take precautions would be to stay in your house and never go out," he said.

While Ayers says Europe remains a easy target for terrorist attacks. He also notes that reports suggest American and European intelligence services appear to be working very well in trying to root out potential threats.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Secret Service Head: White House Security Lapse 'Unacceptable'

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after a recent intrusion at the White House: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid