The U.S. Embassy in Bahrain (search) said Tuesday it has received information about a possible terrorist attack in the Persian Gulf country during the holiday season.

In a written statement, it urged Americans to avoid places where Westerners congregate and to reduce unnecessary travel. It said they should maintain an unpredictable daily schedule and vary their travel routes.

An embassy spokeswoman declined to comment on any changes to the mission's own security following the warning.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the embassy in Bahrain "thought it was prudent at this time to put out a general announcement to the American community since that's where this particular threat is centered, that alerted them to the possibility of attacks there."

The warning comes as the United States tightens security because of fears of terrorism over Christmas and the New Year holiday. On Sunday, the U.S. security level was raised to orange, which is "high" alert, from yellow, or "elevated."

The Bahrain warning is in effect until Jan. 2, the embassy said. It said U.S. officials were seeking more information on the terrorism threat.

Bahrain, an island nation of 667,000 people, is a staunch U.S. ally and home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet (search). More than 5,000 Americans live in Bahrain.