West warns of abduction in Lebanon; terror alert in Kuwait

Special to WorldTribune.com
NICOSIA — Western embassies have urged their nationals to limit
travel in Lebanon.

Several Western embassies warned that Europeans and Americans could be
the target of abduction in Lebanon. They also urged Westerners to avoid
parts of the country influenced by the revolt in neighboring Syria.

“We advise against all but essential travel to anywhere within five
kilometers of the border with Syria,” the British embassy in Beirut said.
In an advisory on Oct. 19, the British embassy raised the prospect that
Westerners could be caught up in operations by the Syrian Army in eastern
and northern Lebanon. The advisory cited repeated Syrian Army incursions in
search of soldiers who fled to Lebanon.

“There have been a number of incidents where Syrian troops have crossed
into Lebanon at various points on the border,” the British embassy said.
“These incursions have been unpredictable and violent.”

Tens of thousands of Westerners, many of them dual nationals, were
believed to work, study or reside in Lebanon. Over the last week, warnings
of abductions have been issued by the embassies of Australia, Canada, France
and the United States.

Meanwhile, Britain has warned of an imminent attack on Westerners
in Kuwait.

The British embassy has suspended services in Kuwait amid what the
Foreign Office termed a terrorist threat. Officials said the embassy has
been targeted by unidentified insurgents believed to be linked to Al Qaida.
“While the threat is targeted against the embassy itself, we cannot rule
out threats against other British interests in Kuwait,” the embassy said on
Oct. 20. “We therefore advise that British organizations and businesses in
Kuwait review the security procedures they have in place.”

Officials said the embassy suspended services in Kuwait on Oct. 19 as
non-essential staffers were sent home. Officials said a review would take
place to determine when the diplomatic facility could reopen. Kuwait
contains about 20,000 British nationals.

“There is a general threat from terrorism in Kuwait,” the embassy said.
“Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in
the Gulf region.”

Over the last month, Western diplomats reported an increase in the
threat level in Kuwait and other Gulf Cooperation Council states. They said
the threat was highest in Kuwait amid activities by Al Qaida as well as
Shi’ite insurgents aligned with neighboring Iran.

Kuwait has acknowledged threats to the Gulf Cooperation Council
sheikdom. In September 2011, Kuwait imposed restrictions on fishing and
other maritime activity in the northern Gulf.

The British alert comes less than two weeks before the scheduled visit
to Kuwait of Prince Charles. Officials did not rule out a cancellation of
the prince’s visit.
“We are keeping security under constant review as we would with any
visit, and we are taking advice from the Foreign Office,” a British palace
spokesman said.

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