U.S. warns of attacks in Bahrain, Oman

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The United States has warned of new terrorist attacks in Bahrain and Oman.

The State Department has urged U.S. nationals in the two Gulf states to be on their guard and increase security precautions.

U.S. Central Command maintains facilities in both Bahrain and Oman. The U.S. Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain while the U.S. Air Force maintains facilities in Oman.

Officials said the U.S. intelligence community has assessed that Al Qaida could strike other Gulf Cooperation Council states in wake of suicide strikes in Saudi Arabia and Morocco. They said Al Qaida appears intent in sustaining its offensive against the United States in the Middle East.

The department did not cite any specific development that prompted the alerts, Middle East Newsline reported.

"While we have no specific information that would lead us to believe that an attack is likely to occur in Bahrain, the embassy encourages American citizens to remain vigilant," the U.S. embassy in Manama said on Sunday. "All American citizens in Bahrain are urged to review their personal security practices, discuss personal security plans and practices with their families, and remain alert to changing situations."

A similar warning was issued by the U.S. embassy in Muscat. The embassy said the State Department urged Americans to be aware that Al Qaida and its allies could strike what was termed "soft targets" in the sultanate. The reference was to lightly-guarded civilian facilities such as shopping malls, schools or places of entertainment.

"In light of recent terrorist incidents in the region, the Department of State has requested that we inform American citizens resident in Oman to be especially cautious and vigilant during this period of heightened concern," the U.S. embassy in Muscat said.

On Wednesday, GCC leaders are scheduled to convene in a summit in Riyad. Gulf sources said the summit will focus on the need for security cooperation and coordination amid Al Qaida's offensive in the region.

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