Threats by Bin Laden Prompt New Alert

Published November 20, 2002

| Associated Press

The latest threats by Usama bin Laden prompted the State Department on Wednesday to issue a worldwide caution for Americans everywhere.

The department said Americans need to remain vigilant to a continuing terror threat that could target civilians.

Citing new threats by bin Laden released last week, the department said groups linked to his Al Qaeda organization posed an increased risk of terrorist attacks.

They may include suicide bombings and kidnappings, the statement said. "These individuals have proved they do not distinguish between official and civilian targets," the department added.

In a separate statement, the department said it was concerned that an attack similar to the one in Bali, Indonesia, last month may occur in other Southeast Asian nations, including Malaysia.

It said the Jemaah Islamiyah, which is believed to have links with Al Qaeda, and other extremist groups in the region have demonstrated capabilities to carry out attacks where Westerners congregate.

The Jemaah Islamiyah, which has cells throughout Southeast Asia, is believed responsible for the Oct. 12 blast in Bali that killed nearly 200 people, mostly Western tourists.

The worldwide caution cited the attack in Bali, Indonesia, last month and another in Kuwait as a basis for concern.

Also, the department said, terrorists could retaliate for the execution in Virginia last Thursday of Aimal Khan Kasi, a Pakistani national, for the 1993 murder of two employees of the Central Intelligence Agency.

U.S. government facilities around the world remain in a state of high alert, the statement said.

Residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, hotels, resorts and beaches were listed as potential targets.

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