Terror Warning Prompts Cancellation of July 4 Event in Jordan

By Julie Stahl | July 7, 2008 | 8:08 PM EDT

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) -The US Embassy in Amman, Jordan Thursday cancelled Fourth of July celebrations for the first time in half a century, after recent warnings that the mission was targeted for a terror attack, possibly linked to the Saudi billionaire Osama bin Laden.

Embassy spokeswoman Dana Shell said the United States had "full confidence" in the Jordanian government to protect the Amman embassy against security threats, but the decision to cancel the reception was as a result of the "ongoing review of security" at the mission.

Shell would not reveal details about security steps, but sources said it was apparent from outside the compound that security has been heightened.

"The Embassy of the United States of America regrets to announce the cancellation of its reception in celebration of the 224th anniversary of the independence of the United States of America, which was scheduled for July 4 at the ambassador's residence on the embassy compound," reads a statement that will be published in local newspapers on Friday.

Shell said the embassy remained open for business.

Bin Laden, who is wanted in the U.S. for masterminding the two U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania two years ago in which 259 people died, has threatened to strike at U.S. interests.

The U.S. has maintained an embassy in Jordan since 1950. Fourth of July celebrations have never before been cancelled there.

Last Thursday, the U.S. government issued an advisory saying it had information that terrorists intended to target the Amman embassy.

The communique also cautioned American citizens traveling or residing in Jordan to "exercise prudence ... review their security practices, and ... remain alert to changing situations."

U.S. citizens were also warned to "avoid large crowds and gatherings, keep a low profile, and vary routes and times of all required travel."

About 1,000 Americans live in Jordan. Statistics on American tourists visiting currently were not immediately available.

In December, 28 Islamic fundamentalists believed linked to bin Laden were accused of planning to attack Christian and other tourist sites in Jordan, targeting Israelis and Americans during millennium celebrations.

Most of currently on trial, while 12 are still at large, believed to be living in Britain, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria.