Australia warns of terrorist attacks in Pakistan
Australia warned on Tuesday of the very high threat of terrorist attacks against Western targets in Pakistan following the killing of Osama bin Laden, although security warning levels at home remain unchanged.world Updated: May 03, 2011 08:27 IST
Australia warned on Tuesday of the very high threat of terrorist attacks against Western targets in Pakistan following the killing of Osama bin Laden, although security warning levels at home remain unchanged.
The al Qaeda chief was killed in a strike by United States forces on a mansion in the Pakistan city of Abbottabad on Sunday.
"There is a very high threat of terrorist attack against places in Pakistan that are frequented by Australians and other Westerners," the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said in an updated travel advisory.
"We continue to receive a stream of credible reports indicating terrorists are in the advanced stages of planning attacks, including in Pakistani cities."
Possible targets ranged from the Australian embassy through to hotels, restaurants and universities.
"These attacks could include Western or Australian interests and occur at any time, anywhere in Pakistan," the advisory said.
Washington issued a worldwide travel alert warning on Monday about the enhanced potential for violence to avenge bin Laden's death.
While vigilant, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Canberra had not seen the need to upgrade its own terror warnings -- now at medium, two levels below the highest rating.
"But our security agencies continue to make all of the appropriate plans and preparations that they always do to keep us as safe as possible," she told Sky News.
In a separate interview with ABC television, Gillard said it was obvious bin Laden had a support network in Pakistan helping to conceal his whereabouts.
"Clearly to be able to be there he must have had some support mechanisms -- absolutely," she said, adding that she was surprised to learn about his whereabouts.
"The rumours tended to be that he was hiding out in mountain locations not in a populated area, very close to Pakistan's capital."
Australia is a long-standing ally of the United States and a staunch supporter of the "war on terror". It has been involved in Afghanistan since late 2001 and currently has some 1,550 troops on the ground.