Europe travel alert issued for Americans

The State Department has issued a travel alert for the entire continent of Europe, cautioning American vacationers that extremists have attacked popular tourist sites and other targets across the region.

“While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department nevertheless remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks,” the alert reads. “U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning.”

Department officials said that attacks in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom are proof that Islamic State and al-Qaeda can plan and carry out terrorist actions throughout Europe.

“Terrorists persist in employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devices, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack,” the alert states.

Officials warn tourists to be on alert while at hotels, clubs, restaurants, parks, places of worship, airports and other soft targets.

“Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets,” the alert stated. “U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations, in particular during the upcoming summer travel season when large crowds may be common.”