Less than two weeks after terrorists attacked Paris, the U.S. State Department has issued
a worldwide travel alert cautioning Americans about "possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats." Issued yesterday, the alert expires on Feb. 24.
"Current information suggests that ISIL (a.k.a. Da'esh), al-Qa'ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions," reads the alert. "These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests."
Travel alerts typically are not based on intelligence suggesting specific threats. Rather, they are based on an increased likelihood of terrorism, in general.
"Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da'esh return from Syria and Iraq. Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis," continues the alert, which notes large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services as possible targets.
According to the State Department, U.S. citizens should:
• Exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation;
• Be aware of immediate surroundings;
• Avoid large crowds or crowded places;
• Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events;
• Monitor media and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities; and
• Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
Concludes the alert, "Foreign governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attacks, and some have made official declarations regarding heightened threat conditions. Authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots. We continue to work closely with our allies on the threat from international terrorism. Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats."