US issues travel alert for all of Europe

Washington: Just in time for the northern summer tourist season, the US State Department has issued a new travel alert for all of Europe due to the threat of terrorist attacks on the continent.

This is the fourth travel alert for Europe in the last year. There were only four months since March of 2016 when the State Department wasn’t advising Americans to be careful because of the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe.

The US has issued a blanket travel warning for all of Europe. The US has issued a blanket travel warning for all of Europe. Photo: Bloomberg

The most recent one went out last November, to encompass the Christmas holidays and skiing season, and expired in February.

The latest travel warning cites incidents, attributed to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, in France, Russia, Sweden and Britain. It does not mention any specific intelligence suggesting the State Department believes an attack is about to happen, but expresses a general concern about the potential for more attacks.

A cyclist passes by electoral campaign posters during the first round of the French presidential election in Le Touquet, ... A cyclist passes by electoral campaign posters during the first round of the French presidential election in Le Touquet, France. Photo: Bloomberg

“US citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathisers or self-radicalised extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning,” the alert states before listing potential targets that are pretty much anywhere people gather: tourist locales, transportation hubs, markets and shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions and airports.

Teh Australian government has not issued such an alert. Its latest travel advice was issued on April 17. Titled “Terrorist threat worldwide” it reminds Australians to be cautions when travelling anywhere and highlights the fact “Australia and Australians are viewed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist groups as a target for terrorist attacks. This threat extends worldwide”. 

US citizens travelling to Europe were urged to check the websites of the US embassies and consulates for security messages, keep in touch with friends and family and check local media for updates at the destination. The travel alert expires on September 1 unless extended.

Washington Post