Western countries on edge amid spike in al-Qaeda terror "chatter"
Alarmed by a huge increase in intercepted communications indicating that al-Qaeda-related terrorist attacks may be imminent, western countries have put their citizens on alert in the Middle East, East Africa and Southeast Asia. The United States, Australia and Britain — which have stepped up their intelligence cooperation since the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington — have issued a flurry of terrorism warnings in recent days. Other nations — such as Germany and Denmark — have followed suit. The fears have been made all the more real by Monday’s triple suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia, blamed on al-Qaeda, which killed 34 people at compounds housing western nationals, officials say. “There has been a definite increase in chatter over the past couple of weeks,” said one US official, referring to intercepted telephone and e-mail conversations and interrogations of terror suspects by intelligence agencies. Full Story