The State Department has issued an alert to U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe and is urging travelers to register their travel plans.
"Current information suggests that al-Qa’ida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks," the State Department alert said. "U.S. citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling."
State recommended U.S. citizens register their travel plans with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui.
Travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Registration allows travelers to record information about upcoming trips abroad that the Department of State can use to assist you in case of an emergency. Americans residing abroad can also get routine information from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions, State said.
Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests, State said. "U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure," the alert said. "Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. 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."
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 are urged to 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 http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/tips_1232.html.
This Travel Alert expires on January 31, 2011.