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155 O’seas Missions on High Alert Amid Terrorist Scare

Posted November. 04, 2010 10:14,   


Fears over terrorism are spreading across the world in the wake of a foiled mail-bomb attack targeting the U.S. and the explosion of an oil pipeline in Yemen operated by a Korean company.

A series of copycat mail-bomb attacks targeting the leaders and embassies of major economies such as Germany and Italy have set off alarm bells abroad.

To brace for terrorist attacks, Korea tightened its guard and put 155 of its overseas missions on high alert Tuesday. Seoul also urged 38 of its embassies deemed vulnerable to terrorism to step up efforts to secure the safety of Korean businesses and nationals.

In preparation for the G-20 Seoul summit, the government ordered the heads of Korean missions in countries with direct flights to Korea to urge airports and police in their host nations to strengthen checks for passengers and shipments going to Korea.

The Yemen pipeline run by Korea National Oil Corp. blew up Tuesday, placing Korea on high alert in the run-up to the G-20 summit in Seoul.

An official at the Korean Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry said, “Judging from remnants found near the pipeline, we assume that the pipeline was damaged by an explosion,” adding, “About 10,000 barrels of oil were leaked due to the explosion, and the oil company took steps to stop the leak and resumed the operation of the pipeline.”

Many experts say the explosion was carried out in protest against the Yemeni government’s attempt to arrest Anwar al-Awlaki, leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, and Ibrahim al-Asiri, the group’s top bomb maker.

Western Europe was also hit by mail-bomb plots. In Greece, 11 parcel bombs addressed to foreign embassies in Athens were found through Tuesday.

Shortly after such bombs exploded at the Russian and Swiss embassies in Athens Tuesday, others were also detected in the office of the German chancellor and that of the Italian prime minister.

A German government official said an explosive device was found in a book-shaped parcel with the return address listed as the Greek Economy Ministry.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said the package was sent from Greece two days ago and that it looks similar to the explosive that went off outside the Swiss Embassy in Athens.

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