U.S. warns of terrorist attack in Baltics

In the second terrorism alarm in less than a week, the U.S. State Department is warning Americans living or traveling in the Baltic countries to be wary of suspicious activity or persons and to avoid large shopping areas and transportation hubs.

In a message posted on the Web site of the U.S. Embassy in Rīga, the State Department says it “has received threat information” and urges U.S. citizens to be vigilant on or about Nov. 1.

The warning comes three days after a new videotape surfaced of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and one day before elections in the United States.

The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, Finland, on Oct. 30 warned Americans to be careful “especially in centers of ground-based mass transit.”

Authorities on Oct. 29 warned of a possible terrorism threat and tightened security at several embassies and other potential targets in Rīga, Latvian media reported. Information about the threat came from sources in the United States, Norway and Estonia, the Interior Ministry said in a Nov. 1 press release.

A suspect also has been identified, but Latvian authorities clarified that the suspect had not entered the country.

Norway on Nov. 1 closed its embassy in Rīga to the public, the newspaper Aftenposten reported. A Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesperson declined to say how long the embassy would be closed, the paper said.

President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga was scheduled to meet with the National Security Council (Nacionālā drošības padome) on Nov. 1.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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