Will Obama Ever Take Terrorist Threats Serious?

ISLAMABAD — Suspected militants attacked and set fire to at least 20 tankers carrying oil for NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan on Monday, the third such strike inside Pakistan in as many days, police said. The attack not far from the capital Islamabad took place on a supply line that has been stalled because of a temporary border closing imposed by Pakistani authorities to protest a NATO helicopter attack that killed three Pakistan troops last week. The attackers opened fire on trucks that were parked at a poorly guarded terminal before setting them afire, he and other officers said. The trucks were en route or waiting to travel to the Torkham border crossing along the fabled Khyber Pass, which is used to bring fuel, military vehicles, spare parts, clothing and other non-lethal supplies for foreign troops in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s other main route into landlocked Afghanistan, in Chaman in the southwest, has remained open. While NATO and the United States have alternative supply routes into Afghanistan, the Pakistani ones are the cheapest and most convenient. Most of the coalition’s non-lethal supplies are transported over Pakistani soil after being unloaded at docks in Karachi, a port city in the south. On Friday, a day after the closure of the Khyber Pass route to NATO and US traffic, there were two attacks on oil tankers headed to the country. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for at least one of them, and vowed to launch more.

State Department notice issued Sunday about the potential for terrorists attacks in Europe. The alert expires Jan. 11: The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions. Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.

A rare advisory for U.S. travelers to beware of potential terrorist threats in Europe drew American shrugs Sunday from Paris to Rome, but tourism officials worried that it could deter would-be visitors from moving ahead with plans to cross the Atlantic. The travel alert is a step below a formal warning not to visit Europe, but some experts said it could still hurt a fragile European economy already hit hard by the debt crisis. “I think if someone was looking for an excuse not to travel, then this is just the ticket,” said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. “However, I don’t think most people will alter their plans unless the threat is very specific.” The State Department alert advised the hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens living or traveling in Europe to take more precautions about their personal security. Security officials say terrorists may be plotting attacks in Europe with assault weapons on public places, similar to the deadly 2008 shooting spree in Mumbai, India.

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