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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Terror Threat Was Against New U.S. Embassy in Kenya

Aired June 20, 2003 - 14:17   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: More on that breaking news story we brought to you first, also our top story of the hour, the possible terror attacks that were being planned against western interest in Kenya.
Our State Department Andrea Koppel now has more as the U.S. embassy is shut down in Nairobi -- Andrea.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kyra. CNN has confirmed with two State Department officials that the target of this suspected terrorist plot was, in fact, the U.S. embassy in Nairobi.

Now, this is a brand new embassy that has just opened in recent months. I'm sure our viewers will remember very clearly -- there you see it right now, the new U.S. embassy. What happened to the embassy in 1998 when Al Qaeda broke through and broke two U.S. embassies in West Africa, one in Kenya and one in Tanzania.

This embassy is a state of the art security. It has what's known as the 100 foot setback, under code, that goes back a number of years ago. This is the top of the line as far as security is concerned.

But due to the latest threat of terrorists specifically targeting that embassy, the decision was made by the ambassador and here at the State Department that they better shut it down. They won't say how, in fact, the terrorists were planning to attack the embassy.

But we do know, Kyra, that last month there was a round of alerts that went out, what's known as public announcements for east Africa and for Kenya, warning that there were terrorists who might want to use shoulder-fire missiles, and who can forget what happened in November, in fact, on Thanksgiving Day, when that was that near miss of an Israeli airliner that was flying out of Mombassa, Kenya that terrorists, fortunately, did not strike -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: State Department correspondent, Andrea Koppel, thank you. We'll continue to check in with you, Andrea.

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