The U.S. State Department has just issued a “travel alert” for Europe. From the New York Times:
The decision to caution travelers comes as counterterrorism officials in Europe and the United States are assessing intelligence about possible plots originating in Pakistan and North Africa aimed at Britain, France and Germany.
A travel alert merely urges extra caution during a specific time and does not discourage Americans from visiting Europe. An American official who confirmed the warning on Saturday, who did not want to be identified speaking about internal government deliberations, said a stronger “travel warning” that might advise Americans not to visit Europe was not under consideration.
You can read the full advisory below, but here’s a few other things to keep in mind.
As the NYT‘s Jim Roberts notes the “Travel alert is NOT very specific, warning only of potential for attacks. It does NOT advise against traveling to Europe.”
Mark Knoller points out: “The alerts make you aware of a potential threat & let you decide whether to pursue or cancel your travel plans…Imagine the outrage if State Department knew of a potential threat in Europe and failed to alert American travellers.”
The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions.
Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.
We continue to work closely with our European allies on the threat from international terrorism, including al-Qa’ida. Information is routinely shared between the U.S. and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
We recommend U.S. citizens register their travel plans with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website. Travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444 from elsewhere in the world.
For information on general crime and security issues, U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State’s Country-Specific Information as well as the Worldwide Caution, which can be found on the Bureau of Consular Affairs website. For further information on safety tips while traveling abroad, U.S. citizens should also consult the following website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html
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