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U.S. intelligence warns Americans of Bali-type attack in UAE

Monday, March 17, 2003

ABU DHABI The United States has warned of an Islamic attack on Westerners in the United Arab Emirates.

Western diplomatic sources said U.S. intelligence has been alerted of an Al Qaida-inspired attack in the UAE port city of Dubai. The sources said the alert warned of an attack similar to the Al Qaida bombing of a Bali, Indonesia nightclub in October 2002 in which about 200 people were killed.

Dubai is a leading hub as well as a tourist spot for Westerners. Dubai and Manama are the only cities in the Persian Gulf region with a brisk Western-style nightlife.

Over the weekend, the U.S. embassy in Abu Dhabi warned Americans against visiting nightclubs in Dubai, Middle East Newsline reported. The embassy said the nightclubs could serve as soft targets by Islamic insurgents.

"The U.S. Mission to the United Arab Emirates has received indications of a possible terrorist attack against nightclubs in Dubai," the U.S. embassy said in a warden message. "Americans in Dubai are urged to avoid such locations."

About 16,000 Americans are reported to be living in the emirates. Most of them live in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

On Sunday, the State Department ordered non-essential U.S. diplomats and the families of all embassy personnel to leave Israel, Syria and Kuwait. The department warned of the prospect of an Iraqi nonconventional weapons attacks in those countries.

"The decision to move to ordered departure status is a result of an overall assessment of the security situation in the region due to the threat of military action in Iraq," the department said. "Private American citizens currently in [Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Kuwait and Syria] are strongly urged to depart immediately."

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