Americans Brace for Feared Retaliation
Undated (AP) _ A week of bomb threats and explosions around the globe has intensified fears of retaliation against Americans for the U.S. air raids on Libya. Denmark on Thursday joined the list of European nations ordering Libyan diplomats to go home.
U.S. businesses tightened security in Switzerland, and Americans were warned to keep low profiles or stay out of Moslem areas in the Philippines.
Libyan students in West Germany who oppose their government accused Col. Moammar Khadafy of supporting terrorism, but said it was wrong of the United States to strike back at the Libyan people as a whole.
In London, a senior official said there was nothing to link Libya to the pre-dawn explosion at the downtown British Airways office that started a fire and injured a passer-by. But Scotland Yard said one claim of responsibility said the bombing was in revenge for Britain’s support for the U.S. raids. On April 15, U.S. warplanes bombed five targets in Libya in response to what President Reagan said was Libyan involvement in the bombing of a West German discotheque popular with American soldiers. Some of the planes took off from U.S. bases in Britain.
Before and after the attack, Libyan radio called for its supporters throughout the world to kill Americans and attack American targets.
In Manila, the U.S. Embassy said in a statement that American tourists should avoid predominantly Moslem areas of the Philippines because of threats there against Americans in recent days.
″We offer this suggestion in the interest of encouraging prudence,″ the statement said.
Local officials in Zamboanga City and Marawi City on southern Mindanao island issued similar statements earlier in the week warning of possible hostility toward American tourists visiting Moslem areas of their cities.
No violence has been reported, but Mindanao officials have reported unspecified threats from residents protesting the U.S. attack.
Libya has given economic aid to some Mindanao villages and military aid to the rebel Moro National Liberation Front.
In Geneva, Switzerland, American companies said they were increasing security measures following warnings by U.S. diplomats that they are potential terrorist targets because of the strike on Libya.
Spokesman Christopher Henze said the U.S. mission to the United Nations stressed the need for tighter security to about 40 representatives of American companies in the region at a meeting Friday.
Henk Schiphorst, director of Pan American Airlines for Switzerland, said it had asked the Swiss Civil Aviation Authority to approve a $5 surcharge on tickets to U.S. destinations to help finance the increased security measures. He did not specify what the new measures were.
Raymond Pantet, a spokesman for the Fabriques de Tabacs Reunies in Neuchatel, which is part of the Philip Morris group, said its 800 employees must now go through special identity checks before entering the plant.
A source at IBM’s Zurich headquarters, who demanded anonymity, declined to say what additional precautions it had taken, but said the company was taking the threat of Libyan reprisal seriously.
Gerald Lander, of Dupont De Nemours International in Geneva, said the company has discontinued evacuation drills and told its employees that any future alert would be real.
In Copenhagen, the Danish government said it had ordered the Libyan Embassy to reduce its staff from 11 people to four diplomats and two technical- administrative employees in keeping with the Common Market decision last week to impose diplomatic sanctions on the North African country.
The Foreign Ministry also said the remaining Libyan diplomats would need special permission to travel outside the capital.
In Madrid, Spanish Interior Minister Jose Barrionuevo as quoted as saying: ″We have evidence indicating Libyan functionaries in Spain are involved in terrorist activities. We have expelled Libyans before and may again soon.″
Barrionuevo made the statement at The Hague where he met with Common Market interior ministers to discuss anti-terrorism measures, the independent news agency Europa Press said.
Spain expelled two diplomats and an administrative employee of the Libyan Embassy last December for ″carrying out activities incompatible with their work at the embassy.″
Britain, France and West Germany have expelled Libyan diplomats as part of their battle against terrorism.
Meanwhile, a Libyan student group in Hamburg, West Germany, said in a statement, ″There is no question that the Libyan regime headed by Khadafy has carried out and supported terrorist actions″ outside Libya.
″The Libyan People’s Bureaus play an important role in this,″ it said. ″Since 1980, the bureaus have been systematically used as headquarters for the (Libyan) secret service and built up as weapons arsenals. A considerable amount of weapons and explosives are also stored at the People’s Bureau in Bonn.″
The statement also said: ″Even if Washington has positive proof ... that the Khadafy regime took part in recent terrorist attacks..., it is wrong to collectively make the Libyan people answerable and punish them with bombs,″ it said.
The statement, with the typed letterhead ″General Union Libyan Students’ Section BRD (West Germany) and West Berlin,″ was dated ″Hamburg April 21, 1986.″ The Associated Press in Frankfurt received it Thursday.