France warns tourists of high terror risk

France’s Foreign Ministry is warning French travellers of a high terrorism risk in Britain, asking them to be watchful in public transport and busy tourist areas across the English Channel.

PARIS — France’s Foreign Ministry is warning French travellers of a high terrorism risk in Britain, asking them to be watchful in public transport and busy tourist areas across the English Channel.

A message posted on the ministry’s Web site late Tuesday said British authorities have warned that “the level of terrorist threat is very high in the United Kingdom, and the risk of an attack is very likely.” The ministry said France wanted to pass those concerns on to French citizens, many of whom live in Britain or travel there frequently.

France has not issued any recent warnings for other countries in Europe, though officials have repeatedly insisted that the threat is high in France as well and have boosted security at sites such as Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

France and Britain are among many European countries that have stepped up terrorism alert vigilance recently. Germany, meanwhile, says it remains watchful but that there is no reason to be “alarmist.”

Canada has also warned citizens travelling in Europe of a heightened risk of attack.

Security officials have said terrorists may be plotting attacks in Europe with assault weapons on public places, similar to the deadly 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, India. European officials have provided no details about specific targets.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said there was close co-operation between European countries and the U.S.

The French warning was issued before gunmen fired a rocket at a convoy carrying Britain’s No. 2 diplomat in Yemen on Wednesday, wounding four people amid heightened fears about al-Qaida influence in the Arabian Peninsula country.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. In a separate incident in Yemen the same day, a gunman fatally shot a French citizen working for Austrian oil and gas company OMV.

This weekend, the U.S. State Department advised American citizens living or travelling in Europe to take more precautions about their personal security. Britain’s Foreign Office in turn warned travellers to France and Germany of a high terror threat.

France’s warning did not mention Germany. That was because the Germans, unlike the British, have not expressed such serious concerns about a terror threat inside their territory, said a French diplomatic official speaking on condition of anonymity because of office policy.

The United States believes a cell of Germans and Britons are at the heart of a terror plot against European cities, a plan they link to al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Pakistani officials said this week that eight German militants were killed in a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan.