Tuesday, 23 December, 2003, 19:30 GMT
US issues Bahrain attack warning
The United States Government says it has received a "specific" threat of a possible attack against American interests in Bahrain.
It has warned US citizens to avoid places in the Gulf kingdom frequented by Westerners.
The alert comes after cities across the US tightened security amid intelligence warnings of attacks.
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said terrorists appeared determined to wreak destruction on the US.
The Bahrain warning was issued by the US embassy in Manama.
"The United States Government has received terrorist threat information specific to Bahrain," the AFP news agency quoted it as saying.
"The US embassy in Manama encourages all American citizens to avoid places where Westerners are known to congregate and to reduce unnecessary travel.
"The embassy is seeking more information on this threat."
The island state of Bahrain, with a population of 724,000, is a key US ally in the region and home to the US Navy's Fifth Fleet.
BBC Washington correspondent Rob Watson says that what is striking about this latest warning is that it refers to a particular country.
However, he adds that such warnings in the region are hardly unprecedented.
Only last week, the US embassy in Saudi Arabia offered to fly home non-essential diplomats and their families in the face of heightened security concerns.
The US Department of State issued a worldwide caution to American citizens at the weekend over the potential of attacks by Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda network and allied groups.
It warned them of "increasing indications that al-Qaeda is preparing to strike US interests abroad".