The U.S. government is warning Americans in the Middle East and North Africa to be extra vigilant following the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

In a travel alert issued Thursday, the State Department said Mr. Arafat's death has the potential to produce demonstrations and unrest throughout the region.

The department expressed concern that extremists may be planning attacks against Westerners and oil workers in the Persian Gulf area.

The U.S. Embassy in Egypt says Americans in that country should be especially vigilant on Friday, when Mr. Arafat's funeral takes place in Cairo.

The embassy has advised Americans to avoid parts of Cairo where demonstrations could take place. It said those sites include Cairo's Tahrir Square and the areas around mosques and universities.