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U.S. Embassy in Kenya Under Threat

December 16, 1998

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi and its auxiliary missions will close for two days this month because of security threats following the Aug. 7 bombings at the missions in Kenya and Tanzania.

In a statement, the embassy said Wednesday it will close its mission in Nairobi on Dec. 18 and Dec. 24 because of security concerns cited in a State Department warning last month.

Embassy spokesman Chris Scharf declined to explain why those two dates _ one the Friday before the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan is expected to begin, and the other Christmas Eve _ were chosen, and whether any specific threats had come to light.

The August bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam killed 224 people, including 12 Americans in the Kenyan capital. More than 5,400 were wounded.

A U.S. federal district court has indicted Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, an Islamic extremist in exile in Afghanistan, for masterminding the attacks and five others for carrying them out.

The embassy statement cited a Nov. 12 State Department warning of possible retaliatory acts against Americans abroad.

On Sunday, U.S. embassies in four Gulf states warned U.S. citizens to be on alert for terrorist attacks on Americans within the next 30 days.

U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain issued a statement Sunday saying there was a strong possibility of an attack being planned against U.S. targets in the Gulf over the next month.

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