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Cautions on Bangladesh; Greek anarchists protest

Email|Print| Text size + By Larry Habegger and James O'Reilly
Globe Correspondents / December 21, 2003

Bangladesh: The State Department reported receiving information of several possible threats to the US Embassy in Dhaka and other US interests in Bangladesh, and encourages Americans to be especially vigilant in areas frequented by foreigners. Further, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service released a report saying that Bangladesh may be becoming a haven for Islamic terrorists in South Asia, citing several attacks on cultural groups and the government's failure to crack down on the perpetrators, who may have links to Al Qaeda. Bangladeshi officials protested the report, saying there are no terrorist networks in the country.

Greece: Arson bombs that caused minor material damage but no injuries exploded at four locations within 10 minutes of each other in Thessaloniki Dec. 9. Similar incidents occurred Dec. 11 at two locations in Kalamaria, Thessaloniki. Police believe anarchists protesting the guilty verdicts in a terrorist trial this month are to blame. The incidents appear to be political statements rather than security threats.

Haiti: Civil unrest has increased in this long-troubled land as students and others opposed to the government have staged demonstrations around the country. Some have turned violent. Large protests occurred in Port-au-Prince, Gonaives, Cap Haiten, Petit-Goave, and Jacmel. The US Embassy closed Dec. 12 for security reasons and may close again if conditions dictate or to assess its "security posture." Some international organizations have reduced their staffs as a result of the deteriorating security situation. Americans should defer nonessential travel to Haiti at this time.

Lebanon: Lebanese police foiled an attack on the US Embassy on Dec. 10 when they arrested two men with a bomb at the embassy gates, then arrested the alleged ringleader two days later. Both incidents occurred a few days after the State Department warned Americans of security dangers in Lebanon and urged them to keep a low profile and to vary times and routes of travel. Some 35 people have been indicted for bombing US and British targets between May 2002 and last April, and Middle East tensions and the situation in Iraq have produced anti-US sentiment and protests.

Uganda: The US Embassy in Kampala received a report of a threat against the embassy and the American Club, but the credibility of the information has not been confirmed. The embassy remained open, but the American Recreation Association closed Dec. 12-19 to review its security arrangements. The embassy encourages Americans to remain alert and "increase their security awareness."

Editor's note: Because conditions can change overnight, always make your own inquiries before you leave home. From the United States, contact the State Department via phone (888-407-4747; 317-472-2328; 202-647-5225), fax (202-647-3000), or website (http://travel.state.gov); abroad, check in with the nearest US embassy or consulate.

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