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25 Nov, 2015 17:04

'No specific and credible intelligence' of terrorist plot over Thanksgiving - Obama

'No specific and credible intelligence' of terrorist plot over Thanksgiving - Obama

President Barack Obama told the American people there is "no specific and credible" threat to the US after receiving special national security briefings two days in a row about potential holiday terrorism threats by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

“Right now, we know of no specific and credible intelligence indicating a plot on the homeland,” the president said Wednesday afternoon.

Obama addressed the nation from the White House's Roosevelt Room as Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Loretta Lynch looked on.

Obama said he met with his national security advisers for a “regular update on our security posture post-Paris and going into the holiday season.”

IS has taken credit for the November 13 terrorist attacks on Paris, France, as well as the bombing of a Russian jet in Egypt.

“It’s understandable that people worry something similar [to the Paris attacks] could happen here: Watching the events in Paris made the threat feel closer to home. So, as we go into Thanksgiving weekend, I want the American people to know… that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe,” Obama promised.

The president briefly mentioned the US strategy of “going after ISIL wherever it hides,” and promised more details on his plan in the coming weeks. He also pointed out that the US and an international coalition of more than 65 countries have conducted more than 8,000 airstrikes on IS in Syria and Iraq, and are working to cut off the terrorist group’s financing.

“We continue to do everything possible to prevent attacks at home and abroad and to prevent foreign terrorist fighters from entering the United States or other nations,” Obama said, noting that the US has been improving its homeland security procedures since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

On Tuesday, the president met with the National Security Council, where he "was briefed that there is currently no specific, credible threat to the homeland from [IS]," a White House statement said afterwards.

Obama and his national security advisers discussed "ways we can enhance our existing security and intelligence cooperation" with the international coalition battling the terrorist group, the White House said.

The president "emphasized that degrading and destroying ISIL will continue to require coordination and cooperation among a wide range of global partners," the statement added.

Obama’s announcement comes two days after the State Department issued a worldwide travel alert, warning travelers of the potential risks of terrorism posed by Islamic State, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and unaffiliated individuals inspired by the groups.