Subway system in New York, December 19, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Burton)
Islamic State militants plan to launch terrorist attacks in US and Paris subways, said Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, citing "credible" sources. US officials dismissed the Iraqi claim, stating they have no evidence of terror plots.
Abadi made the remarks at a meeting with reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday.
"Today, while I am here, I am receiving accurate reports from Baghdad where there was the arrest of a few elements and there are networks planning from inside Iraq to have attacks," he said.
"They plan to have attacks in the metros of Paris and the US," he added. "From the details I have received, yes, it looks credible."
Abadi added that it is not clear whether the attack was imminent, adding that the intelligence was gleaned from arrests of IS militants in Iraq.
An Iraqi official at the UN also told the BBC that several IS fighters had been captured and told Iraqi intelligence that French and American recruits had "an imminent plot" to hit the metro in Paris, and then hit the US, though not saying where in the US.
Iraq's new Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi speaks to Iraqi lawmakers before submitting his government in Baghdad September 8, 2014. (Reuters/Hadi Mizban)
A senior Iraqi official told Reuters that Baghdad has passed information on threats to "appropriate security authorities of our partners," while security forces are still assessing its veracity.
Following the Iraqi PM’s remarks US law enforcement and security officials initially said they would investigate the claims of a terror plot. However, shortly after, various officials reported that they have no evidence of a current threat in the US or France.
The White House’s National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden said that the US government has no information regarding the Iraqi claim.
“We have not confirmed such a plot, and would have to review any information from our Iraqi partners before making further determinations. We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners,” she said.
New York City administration and the NYPD said they were "aware" of the warning and were assessing the threat.
"We are in close contact with the FBI and other federal partners as we assess this particular threat stream," said John Miller, deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism at the NYPD. "New York City normally operates at a heightened level of security and we adjust that posture daily based on our evaluation of information as we receive it."
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo added that security forces had already begun to beef up precautions at New York City mass transit sites.
There is no specific or credible threat against Washington's area rail or bus systems, a spokesman for the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority Dan Stessel said in a statement.
In the wake of the rise of the Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Wednesday condemning extremism and sectarian violence. Under the resolution all member states are obliged to make it a serious criminal offense for their citizens to travel abroad to fight with extremists or support them.
In the fight against the extremists, the US and its allies have formed an anti-IS coalition, launching aerial attacks on Syria on Tuesday. Earlier this year, Washington launched a military campaign against the jihadists in Iraq which was later on supported by Paris.