- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 2, 2003

Hotels and apartment buildings in the Washington area are taking extra security measures since the federal government deemed them the latest targets of terrorism.
Apartment high-rises are securing air-intake equipment to prevent attempts to kill people with chemical weapons. Property owners are sending residents letters that offer tips on how to protect themselves, and some hotels are restricting underground parking.
John Lockwood, director of marketing at the Crystal City Marriott and Crystal Gateway Marriott, said that since the attacks September 11, 2001, the hotel staff has been "keeping a close eye" on things in and around the hotels, which are between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Pentagon.
"There's no question that our clientele is safe," Mr. Lockwood said, though he declined to discuss the safety measures put in place. "We feel that we're a lot safer because we're in an area that's so well guarded, rather than those hotels that are in the middle of nowhere."
Meanwhile, apartment-building owners are asking residents not to open doors to service or maintenance workers without first seeing their identification and to call police if they see suspicious activity around their buildings.
"Apartment-building owners' concern is the same concern as everyone else has," said Maureen Lambe, vice president of administration with the Alexandria-based National Apartment Association, a federation of 160 state and local affiliates that represent more than 4.6 million apartment homes in the United States and Canada. "They've been on alert since September 11, and this latest threat alert is no different."
Nightclubs, although not deemed a likely terrorist target by the government, are also on alert. They are patting down clients wearing heavy jackets, and inspecting bags and purses before allowing them into clubs. They also look for suspicious cars parked outside their clubs.
"We do what we can, and there's really only so much you can do," said Gary Ouellette, owner of Polly Esther's D.C. Inc., a dance club in Northwest. "None of us are trained professionals who can sniff out bombs. That threat has always been there, and it will always exist. That's the way you have to live your life nowadays."
Terrorists have repeatedly targeted nightclubs overseas.
In 1986 terrorists bombed a packed West Berlin club in which a U.S. soldier and a young Turkish woman were killed and 155 others were wounded, including 44 Americans. News organizations received three claims of responsibility for the attack, including one from an unknown radical Arab group.
Last year, a Palestinian suicide bomber set off an explosion at the Park Hotel in the coastal resort of Netanya, in Israel, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 100 as they sat down to a Seder dinner at the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover. The Islamic Resistance Movement, known as Hamas, claimed responsibility.
In October, a bomb destroyed a crowded nightclub in Bali, sparking a devastating inferno that killed at least 171 people and wounded 300, at least 90 of them critically. Officials said it was the worst terrorist act in Indonesia's history. There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing in the Sari Club at the Kuta Beach resort, which officials said killed Indonesians along with Australians, Britons, Canadians and Swedes.
Earlier this month, a bomb rocked the exclusive Club Nogal in Bogota, Colombia, killing at least 25 people, leaving about 100 injured and setting the 10-story building on fire. Colombian Vice President Francisco Santos blamed the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, for planting a car bomb at the club.

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