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U.S. Embassy Issues Caution to Americans in Italy

The US embassy in Rome has circulated a warning to US citizens living it Italy to take “prudent steps” for their personal safety following the outbreak of war in Iraq. A e-mail warning was issued to 5,000 US citizens signed up with the embassy’s “warden service” shortly after US and British forces began a long-planned assault on Iraq early on Thursday. US citizens and interests worldwide were at risk of “terrorist” attacks, it said, urging people to “remain aware of surroundings, avoid crowds and demonstrations, keep a low profile, vary times and routes, and ensure travel documents are current”. “The embassy and consulates in Italy may temporarily close or suspend public services from time to time to assess our security,” it said. Roughly 180,000 US citizens live in Italy, including 17,000 US troops in 14 US and NATO military bases. Those in the e-mail warden system are mostly businessmen and retirees, an embassy spokesman said, adding that the embassy had registered an unusually high number of hits on its website following the outbreak of hostilities. Full Story

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