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LIMA, Peru — The U.S. Embassy in Peru is warning U.S. tourists of a potential kidnapping threat in the Cuzco region that includes the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

The warning triggered vehement objections from Peruvian government officials Friday, but a U.S. Embassy official says there is credible evidence of a threat from a Peruvian terrorist group.

The U.S. official has confirmed a report in the Peruvian newspaper La Republica that Peru’s military intercepted in early January messages of leaders of the cocaine-financed Shining Path outlaw band discussing kidnapping foreigners, principally Americans. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the political sensitivity.

The embassy warning was posted on the U.S. Embassy’s Facebook page Thursday. It says U.S. Embassy personnel are barred from visiting Machu Picchu and Cuzco unless on official business.

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