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US Issues Worldwide Travel Alert on Terror Threats; Brussels at Highest Alert


The United States issued a worldwide travel alert for Americans amid concerns that terror groups and individuals plan more attacks after the Paris massacres, reported CNN.

The State Department alert read, “Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.  These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests. This Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016.

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. Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theatres, open markets, and aviation services. In the past year, there have been multiple attacks in France, Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey, and Mali. ISIL/Da’esh has claimed responsibility for the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation.  Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events. U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities. Persons with specific safety concerns should contact local law enforcement authorities who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.

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.”

In July, the State Department issued a “Worldwide Caution” that also warned ISIS and others continued to plan terrorist attacks against the United States and Western interests in Europe.

An “Alert” is time-limited, often for 90 days, at which it can be reviewed. An alert is not necessarily stronger or weaker than a caution. The most recent worldwide travel alert was issued in December 2014, and prior to that in August 2013, September 2011, and May 2011.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel warned that the threat to his country remained “imminent and serious”, according to BBC.

But he also said authorities were planning to reopen schools and the Brussels metro on Wednesday.

Belgian prosecutors announced on Monday that a fourth suspect had been charged with terrorism offences related to the Paris attacks.

The unnamed man was one of 21 people detained in raids on Sunday and Monday. Seventeen have been released without charge.

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