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Bulletin warns of terror threat to US targets at sites abroad

WASHINGTON -- The US government is warning that a surge in terrorist violence overseas and the end of the Muslim Ramadan holy month increases the possibility of attacks on American interests abroad.

A classified bulletin was sent Thursday to law enforcement and government officials. It said the bombings in Istanbul and elsewhere signal Al Qaeda's continued desire to attack US interests abroad, according to a senior law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The threat warning did not include any specific times, locations, or methods for a potential attack.

The bulletin made no mention of domestic attacks. There are no plans for the government to raise the US color-coded terror threat level beyond its current "yellow," or elevated, position, the midpoint on a five-level scale, the official said.

In Iraq, US officials warned of a possible upsurge in violence as the end of Ramadan approaches. Captain Iam Imicher, a company commander in the 588th Engineering Battalion in Baqubah, said "intelligence sources throughout the city" and the surrounding province "indicate an increase as Ramadan ends and we move into the month of December."

The Ramadan period, which ends early next week, has seen a surge of deadly terrorist bombings in Turkey and Iraq.

The holy month began with several deadly bombings in Baghdad, including a suicide attacker who detonated an ambulance packed with plastic explosives outside the international Red Cross headquarters in the Iraqi capital.

On Thursday, at least 27 people were killed and about 450 wounded when twin truck bombs destroyed the Istanbul headquarters of a British bank and the British consulate. The attacks follow bombings at two Istanbul synagogues last Saturday that killed 23 people.

The FBI warned in October that Al Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups might time attacks to coincide with Ramadan because of the religious symbolism. But many law enforcement and intelligence officials also say that terror groups tend to act when operations are ready, regardless of the date.

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