Recent Bombings Target Jewish Sites

<i> Wright is a former assistant foreign editor at The Times. His column appears monthly. </i>


Israel’s diplomatic missions were put on alert following terrorist bombings of Israeli and/or Jewish targets in Buenos Aires and London that left nearly 100 people dead, according to the Reuters news service. A car bomb outside Buenos Aires’ main Jewish community center killed 96 people in mid-July, and late in the month twin car bombs struck the Israeli Consulate in London and the offices of a Jewish fund-raising organization outside London, injuring 14 people. A British police official promised round-the-clock protection of prominent Israeli and Jewish sites. Israel’s foreign minister blamed Iran for “all the troubles,” a charge denied by Iran, while a State Department analyst attributed the London bombings to Islamic revolutionaries.


Greece: Scores of anti-terrorist police combed the Aegean island of Rhodes after three bombs injured seven tourists and a taxi driver. The bombs, placed in garbage bins, exploded near a beachfront discotheque, a hotel and a crowded restaurant. No one publicly claimed responsibility for the bombings, but Reuters quoted a Rhodes official as suggesting that Turkey might be behind them. There were also reports that Greek diplomats in Turkey had received anonymous threats against tourism in the Greek islands because of purported Greek support for Kurdish insurgents in Turkey. Kurdish terrorist bombings of popular Turkish sites are believed to have put a dent in Turkey’s tourism industry.



Algeria: Following the slayings of five French citizens in Algiers early this month, the U.S. Embassy there warned Americans that “the security situation for the foreign community has deteriorated further.” The State Department has warned Americans not to travel to Algeria but pointedly stopped short of recommending “an unconditional departure of Americans.” Fifty-six foreigners have been killed in Algeria since last September, when Muslim insurgents began targeting foreigners in an attempt to destroy confidence in the military-backed government. In response to the terrorism, the Netherlands said it will close its embassy in Algiers, and Belgium strongly urged its citizens to leave the North African country.

Nigeria: The 7-week-old oil workers’ strike has disrupted airline schedules and public transportation, and bank closings are causing currency shortages, according to the U.S. Embassy in Lagos. The embassy, noting reports of unrest in the capital, has advised Americans to avoid unnecessary travel within the West African country and be alert to personal security.



Poland: Businesses in Warsaw’s Old Town asked the government’s help in resisting extortion demands by organized gangsters, Reuters reported. Restaurant owners have been threatened with violence and hit up for protection fees of $500 to $7,000 a month, and officials fear that the gangs will impact tourism.

Guatemala: Sixteen tourists, most of them Americans, were robbed at gunpoint at a popular tourist site, and a young woman in the group was also raped, according to a U.S. Embassy report quoted by Reuters. The tourists were confronted by a small band of armed men as they climbed the slopes of the Pacaya volcano.

Kenya: A gang of bandits bludgeoned a British woman to death and beat her husband during a house robbery in an affluent suburb of Nairobi, Reuters said. Kenya’s president ordered police to step up security in the cities, saying that tourists and expatriates are under constant threat. British diplomats warned visitors that muggings and carjackings are regular risks in Nairobi.

Jamaica: Tourist arrivals in the second quarter dropped 8.5% from the same period last year, a decrease blamed on crimes against tourists, Reuters reported. Among this year’s incidents: A tourist from Orlando, Fla., was murdered on the North Coast, two Pennsylvania visitors were shot and robbed while rafting, and two British women were raped by security guards at a hotel.


Hot Spots: The State Department has dropped Yemen, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Israeli-occupied West Bank from its list of places where Americans are advised not to travel. Remaining on the list are Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, North Korea, Peru, Rwanda, Serbia and Montenegro, Somalia, Sudan and Tajikistan.


The U.S. State Department offers recorded travel warnings and advisories at (202) 647-5225; the fax line is (202) 647-3000.