US Issues Terror Alert, Makes Marriott Hotel Off Limits

by SharonKurheg

It’s rare that the U.S. government bars its staff from entering a hotel, but that’s exactly what’s been going on for the past few days.

According to several sources, a security alert issued by the US embassy on Christmas Day said the US government was “aware of information that unknown individuals are possibly plotting to attack Americans at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad sometime during the holidays.” The alert continued, “Effective immediately, the Embassy in Islamabad is prohibiting all American staff from visiting Islamabad`s Marriott Hotel.”

The hotel is very popular with American personnel.

The embassy also urged all its personnel to refrain from “non-essential, unofficial travel in Islamabad throughout the holiday season.”

Along with this, the embassy advised its staff to exercise vigilance at events and places of worship. They also suggest staff avoid locations with large crowds, to review their personal security plans, to carry identification and follow requests from law enforcement, to be aware of their surroundings and to monitor local media for updates.

These directives came two days after a suicide bombing in a residential area of the capital. A police offer was killed and ten others were wounded during the event.

Militants with the Pakistani Taliban, who are separate from but allied with Afghanistan’s rulers, later claimed responsibility for the attack. Islamabad’s administration has since put the city on red alert.

With a solid 4 stars on Tripadvisor, the Islamabad Marriott Hotel is #3 of 159 hotels in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The 5-story hotel offers 288 rooms varying from two double beds all the way up to their Presidential Suite. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, free valet and self-parking, 6 restaurants, a spa and an indoor pool, among others.

The hotel is located at the footsteps of the Margalla Hills and is near Rawal Lake, the town center, President & Prime Minister Houses, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senate, Parliament House, Foreign Missions, World Bank, Government Offices, corporate sector, Print and Electronic media offices etc.

This isn’t the first time the Islamabad Marriott Hotel has been the subject of unrest. The hotel was bombed in 2008, when a truck filled with explosives was detonated in front of the hotel. At least 54 people were killed (46 Pakistanis, 3 Americans, and 1 each from Denmark, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Germany and Egypt) and at least 266 were injured.

At this time, there’s no word on when the terror alert and hotel ban will be lifted.

Feature Photo: Marriott

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