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Americans in Baghdad Warned Against Weekend Attacks - 2003-10-31

The U.S. Consular Office in Baghdad has issued a warning to Americans in the city, based on indications there could be a wave of attacks on coalition targets Saturday and Sunday.

The warning is based on leaflets calling for two days of 'resistance', which were distributed in a small number of Baghdad neighborhoods this week.

It is not known who wrote the leaflets, which mentioned attacks on November 1 and 2 to mark six-months since President Bush declared that major combat in Iraq had ended.

The U.S. Consular Office in Baghdad acknowledged what it called rumors of attacks, in a formal statement urging Americans in Baghdad to maintain a high level of vigilance, and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.

Some journalists at hotels in Baghdad have indicated they plan to stay with Iraqi friends this weekend, fearing there may be attacks against the hotels that are housing the journalists.

Many of the attacks in Baghdad have killed large numbers of Iraqis who work with foreign organizations, or were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured in Baghdad Monday in a series of suicide bombings at three Iraqi police stations and the International Red Cross headquarters. And, with rumors of possible violence in the next days, many Iraqis, like this man who did not want to be identified, say they are afraid.

"It means that I should be careful," he said. "I shouldn't go out. My family, my father, my relatives, I will tell them don't go out, because those guys are killing innocent people all the time. Iraqis, no, right now they are not safe."

The attacks this week have prompted the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross to withdraw their foreign staff members from Baghdad, while they reassess their plans for the future.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Consular Office in Baghdad also issued a statement Friday indicating that coalition forces, over the past few weeks, have reported possible missile attacks directed at aircraft over Iraq.