Tue, Mar 19, 2002 - Page 1 News List

US issues warning on `softer targets'

AFP , WASHINGTON

Police officers guard a church in Lahore, Pakistan, yesterday following Sunday's grenade attack on a church in Islamabad's diplomatic quarter in which five people were killed. While Pakistan put its military and police forces on high alert, the US issued a worldwide warning of an increased risk of terrorist attacks against US targets.

PHOTO: AP

The US issued a worldwide caution to its citizens yesterday, warning of an increased risk of terrorist attacks against US interests -- particularly at schools, churches, recreational events, and other "softer targets."

"The US government continues to receive credible reports that extremist individuals are planning additional terrorist actions against US interests.

Such actions may be imminent and include suicide operations," the State Department said.

"We have no further information on specific targets, timing or method of attack," the statement continued.

"We remind American citizens to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and to exercise caution."

The warning from US officials came one day after a deadly grenade attack at an international church full of diplomats' families in Islamabad, Pakistan. The assault killed five people, including a US diplomat's wife and daughter, and left 46 people wounded.

"The March 17 attack on worshippers at the Protestant International Church in Islamabad underlines the growing possibility that as security is increased at official US facilities, terrorists and their sympathizers will seek softer targets," the State Department statement said.

"These may include facilities where Americans are generally known to congregate or visit, such as clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools or outdoor recreation events."

The statement continued: "Americans should increase their security awareness when they are at such locations, avoid them, or switch to other locations where Americans in large numbers generally do not congregate."

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