WASHINGTON – The State Department on Saturday warned Americans in the East African nation of Djibouti, where U.S. troops are posted, that terrorists may be planning attacks similar to those last week in Kenya.
The government had not confirmed the credibility of information concerning the threats, which also were thought to cover other countries in the region, according to a State Department statement.
"Due to the preponderance of threat information, the department believes it prudent to share this information with American citizens so they can make an informed decision in deciding whether to travel to or remain in East Africa," the statement said.
Thousands of U.S. troops are in Djibouti, a former French colony at the tip of the Horn of Africa across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. Gen. Tommy Franks, who is overseeing the fight against terrorism, has said they are there to help in that effort.
The State Department statement did not mention that military presence in Djibouti. Calls to Pentagon spokesmen were not immediately returned Saturday.
The statement mentioned Thursday's attacks at Mombasa, Kenya. Three suicide bombers killed 10 Kenyans and three Israelis in an attack against an Israeli-owned hotel. Two surface-to-air missiles just missed an Israeli Arika Airlines jetliner after it took off for Israel with 261 passengers and 10 crew members.
"The U.S. government has received information, the credibility of which has not yet been confirmed, that similar attacks may also occur in Djibouti," according to the statement. Djibouti is "one of a number of countries in East Africa where there may be an increased terrorist threat."
Americans should "remain vigilant with regard to their personal security and exercise caution," the statement said.
"Increased security at official U.S. facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets" such as residential areas, hotel, schools, resorts, beach areas, the statement said.
In a separate travel warning, the department reaffirmed its advice of March 18 for Americans to put off travel to Yemen. It noted "credible reports that terrorists have planned attacks against U.S. interests in Yemen. The security threat to all American citizens in Yemen remains high."
Yemen was the site of an attack in October 2000 against the destroyer USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors and caused tens of millions of dollars damage to the ship. A pilotless CIA drone rocketed a car Nov. 3 in Yemen, killing six people including an alleged leader of the Al Qaeda terror network.