The US State Department announced on 23 December that it had received a 'specific threat' against US interests in Bahrain. 'The US government has received terrorist threat information specific to Bahrain,' it said in a statement. 'The US embassy in Manama encourages all American citizens to avoid places where Westerners are known to congregate and to reduce unnecessary travel.' No further information has been released about the threat. 'The embassy thought it was prudent at this time to put out a general announcement to the American community in Bahrain since that is where this particular threat is centered,' said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. A statement from the State Department said: 'While more specific information is not available at this time, American citizens in Bahrain should remain vigilant, particularly in public places associated with the Western community. US citizens should avoid demonstrations and large crowds, should remain aware of their surroundings, be vigilant about their personal security, maintain an unpredictable daily schedule and vary the routes used to travel to and from their places of work and residence.'
Manama has refuted the claim that US interests in the kingdom are at risk. 'Our information does not point to a danger,' said Bahraini Information Minister Nabil al-Hamr. 'But in any event, Bahrain is taking appropriate and sufficient measures to confront any such attacks.'