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U.S. Embassies in Middle East Close Doors for Weekend

Aired October 13, 2000 - 2:23 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The impact of the bloodshed in Israel is being felt at U.S. embassies around the world, as you've heard. In light of a caution issued by the State Department, many are closing their doors, at least for this weekend. CNN's Andrea Koppel says U.S. officials are worried the Mid-East violence could affect surrounding Arab countries.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With anti-U.S. sentiment spreading like a wildfire throughout the Middle East, the U.S. State Department late Thursday advising U.S. citizens traveling overseas to be on alert and to avoid travel to Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Yemen.

The attack against the USS Cole off Yemen's coast, officials say, the realization of their worst fears: that the longer the Israeli- Palestinian crisis continues, the greater the potential for violence directed against Israel and the United States.

Part of the problem, officials say: inflammatory rhetoric coming out of the region. In fact, just last week Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh demanded the opening of Arab borders to supply arms to the Palestinian people and to let in Mujahedeen, or Islamic freedom fighters.

And some analysts say yet another consequence of this crisis could be a serious setback for the U.S. campaign to keep Iraq isolated.

GEOFFREY KEMP, THE NIXON CENTER: And that comes at a time when the sanctions regime on Iraq is beginning to erode, when more and more countries are violating the fly rule into Iraq. And, quite frankly, it means that Saddam Hussein is in the process of being rehabilitated.

KOPPEL (on camera): A process President Hussein is trying to accelerate, U.S. officials say, by mobilizing his military with the possible intention of offering Palestinians Iraqi support, thereby ingratiating himself with the Arab world, a community of states with which the U.S. is rapidly losing influence.

Andrea Koppel, CNN, the State Department.

(END VIDEOTAPE) TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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