US issues Europe travel alert ahead of peak-season holidays

2017-11-24 11:39 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Travellers are being advised to be aware of possible terror risks associate with travel to Europe, the US State Department has said.

While travel risk exists anywhere in the world, the US State Department says terror attacks are of key concern in Europe during the peak holiday period. 

The alert is effective immediately and expires on January 31, 2018.

It issued the Travel Alert for Europe citing holiday attacks last year on a Berlin Christmas market in early December and a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year's Eve, both claimed by ISIS. 

Travellers are being advised to: 

• 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.
• Have an emergency plan of action ready.

SEE: 5 ways to combat your fear of being struck by a terrorist attack 

The US also references more recent terrorist attacks in Paris, St Petersburg, Stockholm, London, and Barcelona, warning that travellers should take precautions throughout Europe. It says "places of risk include 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".  

"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."

"We continue to work closely with our European partners and allies on the threat from international terrorism. Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats."

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