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U.S. Warns Of Possible Al-Qaeda Attack

Washington, 26 May 2004 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. government says it has credible information that indicates Al-Qaeda is plotting a major attack inside the United States or on U.S. interests.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said at a news conference today that the intelligence available to Washington indicates Al-Qaeda's specific intention is to hit the United States hard.

"Credible intelligence from multiple sources indicates that al-Qaida plans to attempt an attack on the United States in the next few months," Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft said Al-Qaeda -- the group blamed for the 11 September 2001 attacks -- has declared that preparations for an attack were nearly complete.

The attorney general said Al-Qaeda may hope for a similar U.S. response to that which occurred after the 11 March train bombings in Madrid. Those attacks influenced Spain's election and led to the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. The United States will have presidential and congressional elections in November.

Ashcroft suggested that events that may attract an attack include the opening of a World War II memorial in Washington on 29 May, the Group of Eight summit in the state of Georgia next month, the Fourth of July holiday and the Democratic and Republican party conventions in Boston and New York at the end of the summer.