Public Announcement is being updated to alert Americans to an
increased potential for anti-American violence, including
terrorist actions against U.S. citizens, as a result of the
military action in Iraq. This supersedes the Public Announcement
of November 20, 2002 and expires on July 20, 2003.
Department of State reminds Americans traveling to or residing
in the Middle East and North Africa (including the Arabian
Peninsula and the Persian Gulf region) to exercise caution.
Tensions generated by the current crisis in Iraq have increased
the potential threat to U.S. citizens and interests abroad posed
by those harboring anti-American sentiments. Public
demonstrations throughout the Middle Eastern region now carry a
greater potential for precipitating violence directed at
American citizens, symbols, or interests.
threat to U.S. citizens in the Middle East includes the risk of
attacks by terrorist groups, including to those with links to
Al-Qaeda. Terrorist actions may include suicide operations,
bombings or kidnappings. While conventional weapons such as
explosive devices are a more immediate threat in many areas, use
of non-conventional weapons, including chemical or biological
agents must be considered a possible threat. Terrorists do not
distinguish between official and civilian targets. Increased
security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists and
their sympathizers to seek softer targets such as residential
areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools,
outdoor recreation events, resorts and beaches.
Government facilities worldwide remain at a heightened state of
alert. Facilities may temporarily close or suspend public
services for security reasons. On occasion, the travel of
official personnel at embassies and consulates around the world
is restricted because of security concerns, and these posts may
recommend that private American citizens avoid the same areas if
at all possible. Services to American citizens may be affected
if employees’ movements are restricted. If this happens, U.S.
embassies and consulates will make every effort to provide
emergency services to American citizens. In case office hours
are reduced, American citizens in need of emergency assistance
should telephone the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate before
visiting in person.
countries where the security of U.S. citizens is considered at
particularly high risk, the Department of State may authorize
non-emergency Embassy personnel and/or their dependents to
voluntarily depart the country or may, if security conditions
warrant, order the departure of some or all Embassy personnel.
The Department of State will inform the U.S. public when
decisions of this nature are made.