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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Some Embassies Closed Due to Terror Alerts

Aired September 11, 2002 - 05:47   ET

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


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We want to keep our attention international right now on this the first anniversary of the worst attack on U.S. soil. The terror threat level is at orange, a reminder for you. Of course that means the risk of another terrorist attack is high. Because of that, seven U.S. embassies and consulates in Asia and the Middle East are closed, among them, the embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. Authorities say the closure there is due to what's being called a credible and specific threat. The American Embassy in neighboring Malaysia is closed as well until further notice, and the United States has increased security at its other embassies around the world.
For more on the embassy closings in Asia, we turn to our senior Asia correspondent Mike Chinoy. He joins us by videophone from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad -- good morning.

MIKE CHINOY, CNN SENIOR ASIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Carol.

Well it's been a nervous day for Westerners and Americans here in Pakistan and indeed across Asia. Apart from the embassies in Southeast Asia, which include Indonesia and Malaysia and Vietnam and Cambodia, all the American diplomatic missions here in Pakistan have been shut. The embassy here in Islamabad, Consulates in Nushar (ph) and Lahore and in Karachi.

The Pakistani government has been very concerned about the possibility of an attack on American interests here. Pakistan, after all, is the country to which many al Qaeda and Taliban operatives fled following the American military campaign in Afghanistan, and there have been a series of violent attacks against Western targets in recent months.

In Karachi where there was a car bomb attack outside the U.S. Consulate in June, the authorities have positioned 2,000 police around diplomatic missions and residences of foreign diplomats. Tensions there are further exacerbated by a three-and-a-half hour-long shootout between police and gunmen who seized a building in Karachi earlier in the day. Eventually, the gunmen was subdued, a couple of them killed, several more captured. It's not clear if these were politically motivated terrorists or just violent criminals, but it certainly added to the tension.

Westerners here in Pakistan have been told to keep a low profile, to stay off the streets, although there is some concern that once this anniversary passes and the level of security decreases that it may be at that point that terrorists choose to strike at American and Western targets. So all in all, a nervous day here -- Carol. COSTELLO: Got that right. Thank you very much, Mike Chinoy, reporting live from Islamabad this morning.

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