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Interpol issues global alert ahead of Quran burning

By the CNN Wire Staff
The Rev. Terry Jones' church plans to burn hundreds of Qurans on Saturday.
The Rev. Terry Jones' church plans to burn hundreds of Qurans on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Interpol warns of a "strong likelihood" of violent attacks
  • It says it acted at the request of Pakistan's interior minister
  • Jones vows to burn 200 copies of the Quran this weekend
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(CNN) -- Interpol issued a global alert to its 188 member countries Thursday, warning of a "strong likelihood" of violent attacks if plans for a Quran burning in Florida go ahead.

The international police organization said it issued the alert at the request of Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who had requested the group's assistance. Interpol said Malik wanted Interpol to warn law enforcement of the increased terrorist threat if plans for the burning are carried out.

"One of Interpol's primary functions is to prevent crime, and given that we have been made aware of a significant threat to public safety -- an assessment which we share -- it is our duty to ensure that we pass this information on to law enforcement agencies around the globe so that they can take appropriate measures," Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said in a statement.

The Rev. Terry Jones, the head of a small church in Gainesville, Florida, has said he will burn 200 copies of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Jones has vowed to go ahead with the plan despite warnings that doing so could endanger U.S. troops, Americans and other citizens worldwide, and despite condemnation from governments, officials and even the Vatican.

"Although there are currently no specific details as to what forms of terror attacks would follow, what is clear is if the Quran burning goes ahead as planned, there will be tragic consequences, ones which may well claim the lives of many innocent people," Noble said.

Interpol has circulated alerts around the world and has requested that any country receiving information about a potential threat to public safety contact Interpol immediately.

"September 11 is a day when the world should come together to redouble our efforts to prevent and fight terrorism, not a day when any individual, especially an American, should engage in provocative acts that will give terrorists propaganda intended to convert September 11 from a day of remembrance, to one of recruitment for terrorists and others inspired to attack the US and other western targets," Noble added.