Stream of al Qaeda threats has U.S. intelligence concerned

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from CNN,

A series of al Qaeda-based threats to attack American and Western targets in Europe, as well as threats to launch attacks inside the United States, has caused significant concern inside the U.S. intelligence community, CNN has learned.

Officials are trying to determine the extent to which the threats may be linked and determine what it may mean about the strength of al Qaeda in several countries. While the “threat stream” has evolved during the past six months, according to a senior U.S. official, none of the threats has been corroborated.

The official said the threats appear to detail “a lot of activity where intelligence suggests there are operational cells,” but so far, “we do not see operational cells of al Qaeda inside the United States,” the official said, although he emphasized it could not be ruled out.

U.S. officials as well as analysts have long said they believe al Qaeda is focused on attacking outside the United States because of the difficulty in penetrating U.S. homeland security. But these latest threat streams suggest domestic U.S. targets also continue to be looked at by al Qaeda.

Worry No. 1: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. One of the biggest concerns right now remains efforts by Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack inside Yemen, in Europe and inside the United States.

Worry No. 2: Core group in Pakistan. Separately, still another official confirms to CNN that the core al Qaeda group in Pakistan is also seeking to place operatives in places to attack U.S. targets overseas and domestically. U.S. officials confirm an operative who uses the code name Abdullah al-Shami, who is living in Pakistan, may now be heading that group’s efforts to plan external attacks.

Worry No. 3: Spillover effects from Syria. The third threat stream continues to come from Syria. U.S. officials tell CNN they believe 70 or more Americans have traveled to Syria to fight, and many may have returned home along with other fighters with Western passports.

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