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US Closes Bombay Consulate Because of Terror Threat

After receiving reports of a possible terror attack, the United States has closed its consulate in the Indian city of Bombay. U.S. officials say they have received information about possible terrorist attacks on American interests in Bombay and the capital New Delhi.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, David Kennedy, says that in response, offices in Bombay, also known as Mumbai, has been closed to the public. "The U.S. consulate in Mumbai closed the consular section and the American Center today as a precautionary measure in response to threat information," he said.

Mr. Kennedy gave no details as to the nature of the threat. But he says embassy facilities in New Delhi remain open. "No facilities have been closed in Delhi but the embassy based on that threat information is alerting the American community to take appropriate steps."

The embassy is urging U.S. citizens to avoid public areas where foreigners congregate and to remain vigilant about personal security.

This is the second time the United States has temporarily closed diplomatic facilities in India in the past four months. In August, the embassy was closed for a day. Officials did not say why it was shut, but the move followed a series of high-profile arrests of al-Qaida suspects in neighboring Pakistan.

India has frequently suffered terror attacks by separatist groups and religious militants. Last year, about 50 people died in a bombing in Bombay. Islamic militants also attacked the Indian parliament in 2001, as part of the continuing conflict over control of the border region of Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan.

So far, no attacks against U.S. interests in India have taken place.