State Warns Americans of ‘Heightened’ Terror Risk in Europe During Christmas Season

Armed police officers patrol in the courtyard of the Louvre museum near where a soldier opened fire after he was attacked in Paris, Friday, Feb. 3, 2017. A knife-wielding man shouting "Allahu akbar" attacked French soldiers on patrol near the Louvre Museum Friday in what officials described as a suspected …
AP Photo/Christophe Ena

The U.S. Department of State posted a travel alert last week on its website warning Americans to use caution when visiting Europe during the holidays because of terrorism concerns.

“The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season,” the travel alert states. “U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals and events.”

A State Department spokesperson told Breitbart News that the agency first posted a travel alert for Europe in August but renewed it to focus on the holiday season.

“The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the Department’s highest priorities, and we provide U.S. citizens with as much information as possible so they can make well-informed decisions before they travel,” the spokesperson said.

“We strongly encourage U.S. citizens traveling and residing abroad to inform the department of their travel plans using the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), and to read the Country Specific Information on our website at travel.state.gov,” the spokesperson said.

The travel alert also states:

Recent, widely-reported incidents in France, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Finland demonstrate that the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS or Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, and their affiliates have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe. Last year, mass casualty attacks occurred at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany in December and a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey on New Year’s Eve. While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks. 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.

Extremists continue to focus on tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities as viable targets. In addition, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets remain priority locations for possible attacks. U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations.

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 latest alert expires on January 31, 2018, according to the State Department.

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