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Leave Flashy Ways at Home, State Dept. Advises : U.S. Offering Travelers a Primer on Terrorism

November 02, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — The State Department, drawing on the experience of U.S. diplomats and counterterrorism experts around the world, has published a new book with advice on how to avoid being a target of terrorists, pickpockets or muggers--keep a low profile, be alert and keep travel plans to yourself.

The book, "A Safe Trip Abroad," says that while "it is impossible to protect oneself absolutely," common sense will reduce exposure to danger.

Among the hints:

--Men should keep their wallets in inside pockets and women should keep purses closed.

--Avoid travel to unsafe areas, although the chances of becoming a victim of terrorists in those areas are slight for a private tourist.

--Schedule direct flights if possible and spend little time at airports.

--Avoid advertising U.S. nationality by flashy dress, behavior or luggage tags. Avoid going to places where Americans are known to congregate. Don't insist on an American car when you rent a vehicle.

--Choose taxis, clearly marked as such, at random and drive with the windows closed in crowded areas as a protection against bombs.

--If someone starts shooting, drop to the floor wherever you are and don't move until the danger is past.

Travelers who are taken hostage, the book says, face the most danger at the beginning of the episode and, if there is a rescue attempt, at the very end.

In the meantime, the book advises, keep cool, avoid eye contact, cooperate and prepare, physically and mentally, for a long ordeal. The U.S. policy not to negotiate with terrorists is firm, because negotiations only increase the risk for further hostage-taking.

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