US evacuates consulate in Lahore as militants carry out attacks

Action follows specific threat, which is ‘not related to other embassy closures’

The United States has evacuated all but essential staff from its consulate in the Pakistani city of Lahore following a specific threat to the mission.

The State Department has also advised US citizens to avoid travelling to Pakistan.

Officials in Washington said the withdrawal of staff from Lahore was a precautionary measure and was not related to the closure of US embassies throughout the Islamic world.

It follows a spate of militant attacks across Pakistan in the past few days that have left dozens dead.

The consulate in Lahore, the capital of the province of Punjab, had been scheduled to close from yesterday until tomorrow because of the Eid holiday. It is now unclear when it will reopen and the US said it would continue to assess the situation.

Meghan Gregonis, a spokeswoman for the US embassy in Islamabad, said staff from Lahore were being transferred to the capital. She was unable to say how many staff were based in Lahore, or the number of those being moved to Islamabad.

“We received information regarding a threat to the consulate,” she said. “We will continue to evaluate the situation.”

Earlier this week, 19 US diplomatic posts in 16 countries in the Middle East and North Africa were closed, and staff were evacuated from the embassy in Yemen, after officials said they had intercepted a message from the al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri which reportedly talked of plans for a major operation. None of the US consulates in Pakistan or its embassy in Islamabad were affected by those closures.  In a travel warning posted on its website, the State Department advised American citizens to put off all but essential travel to Pakistan.

“The presence of several foreign and indigenous terrorist groups poses a potential danger to US citizens throughout Pakistan,” it said. “Across the country, terrorist attacks frequently occur against civilian, government, and foreign targets.”

Pakistan continues to be rocked by incidents of militant violence. Yesterday at least nine people were killed by gunmen who opened fire outside a mosque in the south-western city of Quetta. About 20 others were wounded in the attack, which came as worshippers left the Sunni Muslim mosque following sunrise prayers for the Eid al-Fitr festival. Bullets hit a car carrying Ali Madad Jatak, a former provincial minister with the Pakistan People’s Party, but he was unhurt.

On Thursday, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that killed 30 people at a  policeman’s funeral in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province.

In Islamabad today, a man was shot dead by security guards as he reportedly tried to detonate a suicide bomb at a mosque.

Reports said the man opened fire at the security guards and was killed in an exchange of fire. Three guards were wounded in the incident and one of them died on his way to hospital.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
Sport
Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
SportShould F1's most aggressive driver curb his instincts in title decider?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin