U.S. Embassy in Rome Reopens
Jan. 08, 2001
ROME (AP) _ The U.S. Embassy in Rome reopened on Monday, three days after it was abruptly closed for a terrorist threat.
``After a review of our security posture, the U.S. Embassy in Rome has decided to open to the public,'' a statement said.
On Friday, the embassy sent its employees home without warning due to what U.S. officials only described as a security concern. They refused to discuss the nature of the threat, but Italian news reports said that a team of three Algerians, including a suicide bomber, planned to attack the embassy on Friday.
The reports linked the attackers to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire widely blamed for financing a network of Islamic terrorists.
Bin Laden is blamed for the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed 224 people, and for the suicide bombing of an American warship in Yemen in October, when 17 sailors lost their lives.
American intelligence had suggested before Christmas that bin Laden was planning to hit U.S. targets worldwide at the beginning of the year.
The U.S. Embassy in Rome employs 300 people and is in the heart of the city, on the famous Via Veneto.
It was the first security closure in a decade at the embassy, which shut its doors in 1991 at the outset of the Gulf War, as did many other U.S. embassies worldwide.
Over the weekend, security was also stepped up at U.S. consulates and at U.S. and NATO military bases across Italy.