State Department warns Americans about potential unrest in Algeria
As anti-American unrest spreads across the Middle East, the State Department is warning Americans that the there is a high threat of terrorism in Algeria, a country with a long and violent history of Islamic militancy. "The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to Algeria to evaluate carefully the risks posed to their ...
As anti-American unrest spreads across the Middle East, the State Department is warning Americans that the there is a high threat of terrorism in Algeria, a country with a long and violent history of Islamic militancy.
"The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to Algeria to evaluate carefully the risks posed to their personal safety" the State Department said in a new travel warning issued today. "There is a high threat of terrorism and kidnappings in Algeria… Although the major cities are heavily policed, attacks could still potentially take place… Al-Qaida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is active and operates throughout Algeria."
AQIM claimed responsibility for the Dec. 2007 bombings in Algiers that killed 17 U.N. staffers and have pledged to carry our more attacks, the travel warning noted. The warning also noted the ongoing threat posed by another group, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).
The State Department said that Americans should avoid "overland travel" in Algeria and should start stockpiling medicine, food, and water in case of an emergency. Civil unrest there is a possibility and State is urging Americans to keep a low profile, stay only in hotels with tight security, and keep an eye on the news to make sure they know what’s going on.
"U.S. citizens should avoid large crowds and demonstrations because even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable," the warning said. "U.S. citizens should avoid political rallies of all kinds. Most political gatherings are peaceful but can turn violent without notice."
If and when violence does break out, the U.S. Embassy may not be able to get to everybody because they are under very strict security restrictions right now, the statement said.
"The U.S. government considers the potential threat to U.S. Embassy personnel assigned to Algiers sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under significant security restrictions. These practices limit, and may occasionally prevent, the movement of U.S. Embassy officials and the provision of consular services in certain areas of the country," it read.
The Associated Press reported that U.S. embassies in at least seven countries issued warnings of possible protests and unrest yesterday: Armenia, Burundi, Kuwait, Sudan, Tunisia, Zambia, and Egypt.
Josh Rogin covers national security and foreign policy and writes the daily Web column The Cable. His column appears bi-weekly in the print edition of The Washington Post. He can be reached for comments or tips at email@example.com.
Previously, Josh covered defense and foreign policy as a staff writer for Congressional Quarterly, writing extensively on Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, U.S.-Asia relations, defense budgeting and appropriations, and the defense lobbying and contracting industries. Prior to that, he covered military modernization, cyber warfare, space, and missile defense for Federal Computer Week Magazine. He has also served as Pentagon Staff Reporter for the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's leading daily newspaper, in its Washington, D.C., bureau, where he reported on U.S.-Japan relations, Chinese military modernization, the North Korean nuclear crisis, and more.
A graduate of George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, Josh lived in Yokohama, Japan, and studied at Tokyo's Sophia University. He speaks conversational Japanese and has reported from the region. He has also worked at the House International Relations Committee, the Embassy of Japan, and the Brookings Institution.
Josh's reporting has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, C-Span, CBS, ABC, NPR, WTOP, and several other outlets. He was a 2008-2009 National Press Foundation's Paul Miller Washington Reporting Fellow, 2009 military reporting fellow with the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the 2011 recipient of the InterAction Award for Excellence in International Reporting. He hails from Philadelphia and lives in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @joshrogin
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