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Terrorism Poses Primary Threat to Europe, Official Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2007 – A possible escalation of terrorism in Europe is perceived as the primary security threat to the continent, a senior U.S. military official said here today.

“We’ve seen some recent evidence of terrorist activity on the European continent, and I think this is going to be a continuing issue for us for years to come,” said the official, who is familiar with the thinking of senior leaders at U.S. European Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany.

The issue of terrorism “is probably one of the most significant areas for the European continent today,” the official pointed out, speaking to reporters on background.

The September arrests of eight suspected Islamic terrorists in Denmark and three others in Germany illustrate that terrorism has emerged as the chief threat to European security, the official said. The suspects seized in Germany and Denmark had plotted to use explosives to commit terrorist acts, according to news reports.

The official cited the arrests as “a wonderful example” of many nations working together to share intelligence and other assets at many levels of government, the official said.

One of these nations is Russia, which also is concerned about terrorism and routinely works with the United States and other nations to combat it, the official said.

Senior U.S. and Russian military officials enjoy a good relationship that includes frequent meetings, exercises and exchanges of personnel, the official said.

Furthermore, despite occasional differences of opinion on policy, the United States and Russia remain committed allies that possess good military-to-military relations, the official said.

“Russia is a very large, important partner” of the United States, the official emphasized. “They are a nation that we work very closely with.”

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