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State Dept. warns of danger to Americans after strike on terror leader

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John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator, speaks during a news conference at the White House on Tuesday. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/365eb1e808093bad41e240c448c0b29d/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator, speaks during a news conference at the White House on Tuesday. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 3 (UPI) -- The State Department has warned Americans traveling abroad that they could face retaliation and violence in the wake of a U.S. drone strike that killed al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

The alert, issued in a statement Wednesday, urged citizens to take "worldwide caution" due to "a higher potential for anti-American violence."

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The warning comes three days after President Joe Biden announced the strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, which killed the terrorist leader who helped Osama bin Laden plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

"Current information suggests that terrorist organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions across the globe," the statement reads. "These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings."

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The advisory also recommends a "high level of vigilance" and for people to "practice good situational awareness."

Many government facilities in various regions, including embassies and consulates, are also on high alert and plan to quickly assess security protocols, the statement said. The advisory expressed hope for no disruptions to emergency services should U.S. citizens ever need them.

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Al-Zawahiri never faced trial for the 9/11 attacks.

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He remained one of America's most wanted terrorists more than 20 years after trained hijackers crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, another into the side of the Pentagon, while a third plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field after passengers staged a mutiny.

Zawahiri was also believed to be the mastermind behind the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 U.S. sailors and the simultaneous bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that killed hundreds.

The operation to find bin Laden's second-in-command took months of meticulous planning and finally came when U.S. intelligence identified his family members in Afghanistan.

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From there, Zawahiri's days were numbered.

Unmanned drones fired rockets into Zawahiri's residence Saturday as he stood on a balcony while his family members were in another part of the house.

"Zawahiri continued to pose an active threat to U.S. persons, interests and national security," said an unnamed administration official who gave a statement from the White House on Tuesday.

"As President Biden has consistently said, we will not allow Afghanistan to become a safe haven for terrorists who might bring harm to Americans."

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