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U.S. To Move Some Diplomats Out Of Kenya, Issues Travel Restrictions For Staff

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Nairobi, KENYA: Picture shows a general view of the American embassy in Nairobi taken in June, 2004. Two female passengers of a US embassy vehicle were shot dead in Nairobi, 27, January 2007 during a carjacking. The pair, beleived to be US citizens and mother and wife to a US embassy official, were among four occupants in the car waiting for a colleague when the attackers struck. AFP PHOTO/STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
Nairobi, KENYA: Picture shows a general view of the American embassy in Nairobi taken in June, 2004. Two female passengers of a US embassy vehicle were shot dead in Nairobi, 27, January 2007 during a carjacking. The pair, beleived to be US citizens and mother and wife to a US embassy official, were among four occupants in the car waiting for a colleague when the attackers struck. AFP PHOTO/STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)


NAIROBI, June 20 (Reuters) - The United States said it would move some of its diplomats out of Kenya and has banned all embassy staff from traveling to its Indian Ocean coastline, where about 65 people were killed in attacks on Sunday and Monday.

Islamist militants from neighboring Somalia claimed responsibility for the indicriminate shootings and execution-style killings but Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said they were instead the work of his domestic political rivals.

Kenya has seen a spate of gun attacks and bombings by Somali al Shabaab militants who want it to pull its troops out of Somalia.

"Due to the terrorist attack on June 15 ... the U.S. Embassy instituted restrictions on U.S. government personnel travel to all coastal counties," the U.S. State Department said in a statement on its website on Thursday.

It said the U.S. government continued to receive information about potential attacks on U.S., Western, and Kenyan interests in east Africa's biggest economy, including the capital Nairobi and coastal cities of Mombasa and Diani.

"Based on the recent changes in Kenya's security situation, the Embassy is also relocating some staff to other countries," it said.

Britain, France and Australia last month issued warnings to their citizens against traveling to parts of Kenya's coastline. President Kenyatta earlier this year said the tourism industry was "on its knees" due to Islamist attacks.

Kenya called the alerts "unfriendly", saying they would increase panic and play into the hands of those behind the violence. (Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by George Obulutsa and Andrew Roche)

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