US issues Algeria travel warning after Egypt and Libya attacks

AFP, Thursday 13 Sep 2012

The United States warned citizens against traveling to Algeria, issuing updated guidance Thursday that highlighted an increased risk of attacks against Americans after violence in Egypt and Libya.

"There is a high threat of terrorism and kidnappings in Algeria," the US State Department said in a statement, noting that although "major cities are heavily policed, attacks could still potentially take place."

The Algeria travel warning was issued two days after the US ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other American diplomats were killed when a mob stormed the US consulate in the western city of Benghazi.

Algeria has sharply criticized the anti-Islam film said to have sparked the embassy rampage, while also offering their condolences over the deaths.

The State Department said the threat of kidnapping in Algeria had been noted in its "Worldwide Caution" bulletin in July, which noted that most unrest tends to occur to the east and the south of Algiers, the capital and largest city.

"The US government considers the potential threat to US embassy personnel assigned to Algiers sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under significant security restrictions," the State Department said.

It is believed that Ambassador Stevens died from smoke inhalation after becoming trapped in the Benghazi consulate compound when suspected Islamic militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at the building and set it ablaze.

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