Amid security scare, US asks staff not to visit Marriott Hotel in Islamabad over ‘possible attack’

us asks staff not to visit marriott hotel in islamabad over 'possible attack' amid security scare

New Delhi: The US Embassy in Islamabad on Sunday asked its staff to refrain from visiting a famous hotel in Pakistan’s capital, warning them of a possible attack on Americans.

The warning comes as the city has already been on high alert following a suicide bombing earlier in the week that killed one person.

“US government staff prohibited from visiting Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel due to a security alert issued today, the US embassy asked its government staff to exercise vigilance at places of worship, and avoid locations with large crowds. It also asked them to monitor local media for updates to possible attack,” the US embassy in Islamabad said in an alert posted on its website.

The US government is aware of information that “unknown individuals are possibly plotting to attack Americans at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad sometime during the holidays”, the embassy said in a security alert.

The advisory banned its American personnel from visiting the popular hotel over the holidays.

“Effective immediately, the Embassy in Islamabad is prohibiting all American staff from visiting Islamabad’s Marriott Hotel,” the alert said.

The embassy also urged all personnel to refrain from non-essential travel in Islamabad during the holiday season.

The advisory came two days after a policeman was killed and ten others injured in a suicide bombing in a residential area of the capital. The explosion happened when police stopped a taxi for inspection during a patrol.

Following the incident, Islamabad’s administration put restrictions on public gatherings and processions, and police have heightened security.

In September 2008, the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was hit by a suicide bombing, in one of the deadliest such incidents in the capital. A dumper truck filled with explosives was detonated in front of the hotel, killing at least 54 people, injuring at least 266.