US embassy restricts staff’s movement

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The US embassy in Islamabad on Sunday prohibited its staff from visiting the city’s Marriott Hotel due to concerns of a “possible attack”.

A security alert issued by the embassy said the US government was “aware of information that unknown individuals are possibly plotting to attack Americans at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad sometime during the holidays”. The embassy also urged all its personnel to refrain from “non-essential, unofficial travel in Islamabad throughout the holiday season” due to the red alert declared in the city and the ban on public gatherings.

The embassy advised its staff to exercise vigilance at events, places of worship, and avoid locations with large crowds; review their personal security plans; carry identification and follow requests from law enforcement; be aware of their surroundings and monitor local media for updates.

The prohibition comes two days after a suicide bombing in the capital killed a policeman and wounded six others.

The capital administration had subsequently banned all types of gatherings, especially activities related to the upcoming local government elections, for two weeks and declared a high alert in the city for 48 hours.