AP Exclusive: AQIM not ready to attack Europe

By the Associated Press | August 5, 2011 | 1:00 PM EDT

PARIS (AP) — France's leading judge in the fight against Islamist terrorism says al-Qaida's North African arm has shown no ability to carry out attacks in Europe or elsewhere beyond its zone of operations.

Marc Trevidic has told The Associated Press in an interview that French officials "have seen nothing emerge as a significant foriegn operation in Europe" organized by Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

He said Friday that AQIM has shown an ability to lead kidnappings and other attacks in its operational zone in the Sahara, but only provides moral support to possible allies in Europe through the Internet.

AQIM currently holds four French hostages.

Trevidic said it is having troubles controlling its own zone, and "It's only when a terror group is very strong in its own territory that it begins exporting."