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State Department cites rising 'terrorist threats' in worldwide alert to U.S. travelers

By Doug G. Ware
State Department cites rising 'terrorist threats' in worldwide alert to U.S. travelers
This handout picture shows French police special forces during a raid in an apartment in Saint Denis, North of Paris, during an operation aimed at capturing suspected mastermind of the Paris attacks, Belgian Abdelhamid Abaaoud. The U.S. Department of State on Monday issued a worldwide travel alert for American citizens in response to "increased terrorist threats." Photo by Francis PELLIER/MI/DICOM//UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of State on Monday issued a worldwide travel alert, recommending that American citizens avoid travel in some regions abroad due to "increased terrorist threats."

The department didn't detail any specific threat but simply warned citizens that growing unrest and recent attacks make traveling overseas more risky.

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"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," the alert said. "These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests."

The State Department said its concern is not only for major terrorist factions but also for lone wolf attackers who draw inspiration from groups like the Islamic State and al Qaeda. And recent attacks have only added to officials' concern.

"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," the State Department alert said. "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 crowed places," it added. "U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities."

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The department also urged U.S. travelers to register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which provides information and updates regarding various threats.

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