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Citing a heightened risk of kidnapping around Machu Picchu, Peru's No. 1 tourist attraction, the State Department has issued a security alert for U.S. travelers and has banned embassy employees from non-essential travel to the mountaintop Incan ruins and the Cusco region at large.
"The embassy has received information that members of a criminal organization may be planning to kidnap U.S. citizen tourists in the Cusco and Machu Picchu area," the alert reads. "Possible targets and methods are not known and the threat is credible at least through the end of February 2013."
This move is an extremely unusual response to a disappearance of two U.S. citizens, Jamie Neal and Garrett Hand.