ATHENS -- The U.S. Embassy in Athens updated its travel advice yesterday for American citizens visiting Greek cities, warning them to beware of "unprovoked harassment and violent attacks" against people who could be mistaken for foreign migrants.

Greece has seen an increase in racist violence over the past year, with dark-skinned migrants attacked by groups of men armed with metal bars, knives and wooden bats. Tens of thousands of migrants have also been rounded up by police in a government crackdown on illegal immigration.

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In a security message, the embassy said the State Department's travel section had been "updated to inform U.S. citizens of a rise in unprovoked harassment and violent attacks against persons who, because of their complexion, are perceived to be foreign migrants. U.S. citizens most at risk are those of African, Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent in Athens and other major cities."

The travel advice also said the embassy "has confirmed reports of U.S. African-American citizens detained by police authorities conducting sweeps for illegal immigrants in Athens." -- AP