Travel Warning – Algeria December 23, 2007

Published by Chris Harvey February 20, 2008

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

December 23, 2007

This Travel Warning is being updated to alert U.S. citizens to recent terrorist attacks in Algeria . The threat from terrorism in many areas of the country continues to pose a significant security risk. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on September 14, 2007.

The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who travel to Algeria to evaluate carefully the risk posed to their personal safety. Sustained small-scale terrorist attacks including bombings, false roadblocks, kidnappings, ambushes, and assassinations occur regularly, particularly in northeastern Algeria .  A roadside bomb targeted a bus transporting foreign workers of a U.S. company in the western part of Algiers in December 2006. In April 2007 three suicide bombers detonated vehicle-borne explosives outside of government buildings in central Algiers . Three more suicide bomb attacks in July and September 2007 in Lakhdaria, Batna and Dellys killed more than 80 Algerians. On December 11, 2007, two vehicle-borne explosive devices were detonated at the UN headquarters and the Algerian Constitutional Council in Algiers . The attacks occurred in residential areas where many diplomatic missions are located. The group that claimed credit for the December 11 attacks has pledged more attacks against foreign targets, and specifically American targets.

The U.S. Government considers the potential threat to U.S. Embassy personnel assigned to Algiers sufficiently serious to require them to live and work under significant security restrictions. These practices limit, and may occasionally prevent, the movement of U.S. Embassy officials in certain areas of the country. The Government of Algeria requires U.S. Embassy personnel traveling outside the province of Algiers or to the Casbah within Algiers to seek permission and to have a security escort. Travel to the military zone established around the Hassi Messaoud oil center requires Government of Algeria authorization. Daily movement of Embassy personnel in Algiers is limited, and prudent security practices are required at all times. Travel by personnel to areas of the city outside the center requires prior coordination with the Embassy’s Regional Security Office. American visitors are encouraged to contact the Embassy’s Consular Section for the most recent safety and security information concerning travel in the city of Algiers .

The Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid overland travel in the mountainous northern part of the country, and particularly in the area stretching from Algiers east to the Tunisian border.

The Department of State cautions Americans who reside or travel in Algeria to take prudent security measures while in the country, including making provisions for reliable and experienced logistical support. This support should include being met upon arrival and accompanied for the duration of the visit. Visitors should ensure that tour operators and host organizations perform all notifications and coordination with Algerian police and security officials during their stay. Visitors to Algeria are advised to stay only in hotels where adequate security is provided. Avoid places where Westerners are known to congregate or visit, including bars and restaurants, places of worship, or schools. All visitors to Algeria should remain alert and adhere to prudent security practices such as avoiding predictable travel patterns and maintaining a low profile.

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