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Australian embassy alerts citizens in ME

Filed on December 21, 2005

DUBAI — The Australian embassy in the UAE has issued a fresh alert to its citizens in the Middle East, including the UAE and Qatar, to be vigilant about possible attacks against Australian target.

In the wake of recent media reports about increased racial violence against Middle Eastern people in Sydney, the Australian government has issued fresh travel advisory to its citizens, particular in the Gulf countries, without giving any reasons. Racially motivated violence was reported from a Sydney beach, where more than 5,000 people gathered, following calls to keep Lebanese gangs out. Recent media reports suggested that two men of Middle Eastern appearance were pursued and attacked as they tried to flee a crowd.

“We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution because of the high threat of attacks.. Commercial and public areas frequented by foreigners are possible targets,” said the refreshed advisory, which is posted on its web site and send through email to various Australian citizens and businessmen in the UAE.

“In the past many travel advisories given by the western countries have been judged as knee jerk reactions. “ The overall level of the advice has not changed,” it further says.

The advisory warns Australians against frequenting commercial and public areas known to be frequented by foreigners. “If you are planning on placing your children in schools or child care facilities overseas we encourage you to research the standards of security, care and staff training within those establishments. You should exercise the same precautions you would take before placing children into schools or child care facilities in Australia,” it added.

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