Last week the State Department issued a travel warning to Americans traveling in Brussels after the city went into lock down over an imminent terrorism threat from ISIS. Late last night, that warning was expanded to all international travel for U.S. citizens.
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats. 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. U.S. citizens should:
-Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
-Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
-Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
-Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
Essentially, this warning doesn't do much to clarify any kind of situation. Americans have been told for months to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings. Interesting how warnings like this never include tips about how to defend yourself should something actually happen.
This new State Department travel warning is so universal, and so vague, as to make it entirely useless: https://t.co/YXVx2Ec25W— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) November 24, 2015
Meanwhile, U.S. officials are stressing this warning does not apply inside the U.S.