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US Warns Terrorist Attacks Could Increase as Ramadan Ends - 2003-11-22

The United States is warning that terrorist attacks could increase as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan comes to a close.

Intelligence officials say the government is concerned because of the rise of violent incidents since the fasting month began late October. They say they have issued an advisory to law enforcement and security personnel warning of possible attacks early next week when Ramadan ends.

It says the recent bombings in Istanbul and elsewhere signals al-Qaida's continued desire to attack U.S. interests abroad.

But a spokesman for Homeland Security says the government has no plans to raise the current "threat level" in the United States.

The color-coded terror alert is currently at Yellow, the mid point in a five level scale.

The FBI warned in October that al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups might time attacks to coincide with Ramadan because of the religious symbolism.

The State Department has also issued a worldwide advisory telling U.S. citizens living in other countries to maintain a high level of vigilance following new indications that al-Qaida is preparing to strike U.S. interests abroad.

The warning says the U.S. government expects the terrorist group will try to launch new attacks designed to be more devastating than those carried out on September 11, 2001 in New York and Washington.

The State Department says it can also not rule out the possibility of a new attack in the United States.

some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.