Travel at your own risk.
Just in time for the holidays, the State Department issued a global travel alert to U.S. citizens warning of the increased likelihood of terror attacks by legions of terrorists — including the murderous Islamic State.
The terse warning, posted on the State Department website Monday, said American travelers should use “particular caution” in the coming weeks and through Feb. 24.
“Current information suggests that (ISIS), Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions,” the State Department wrote.
The possible attacks could include “a wide variety of tactics … targeting both official and private interests,” the State Department added.
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The alert was sparked by concerns from authorities that members of ISIS who went to Syria and Iraq to train will now be returning to Europe and the U.S. with a thirst for blood. Their reentries could be timed to coincide with the busiest travel season of the year and large gatherings related to Christmas or Thanksgiving.
There are also warnings about “unaffiliated” groups planning copycat attacks inspired by the recent coordinated attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and injured more than 350 others.
Travelers should expect tighter security after the warning from the State Department.
“Extremists have targeted large sporting events, theaters, open markets and aviation services,” the alert said.
“U.S. citizens should … exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events,” the State Department warned.
New Yorkers set to travel abroad from Kennedy Airport didn’t seem fazed.
Rifka Gudlevski, a stay-at-home mother of three from Borough Park, Brooklyn, was traveling with her daughters to London late Monday.
“Whatever is meant to be, is meant to be,” Gudlevski said. “You can’t worry. If you have to travel, you have to travel. It doesn’t pay to fear.”
Gil Miller, 61, of Washington Heights, was headed to Germany on Monday night.
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People are seen being evacuated outside the scene of a hostage situation at the Bataclan theatre in Paris Nov. 13 as attacks took place across the city.
“These attacks, by their nature, are hard to pull off, thank God,” he said. “I’m not overly concerned.”
Retired NYPD Sgt. Pete Marsalisi, 48, said he was ready for anything.
“I don’t have a problem with the alert. I carry a gun wherever I go,” said the former cop, en route to the Dominican Republic.
But not everyone was as sanguine — at least on Twitter.
“Doesn’t this just let the terrorists win?” tweeted a user named Jo, who said she was in the tourism business.
“Translation: Terrorists are everywhere. We have no idea when/where they’ll strike next. Good luck,” tweeted Christopher Stack, with a link to the State Department posting.
Monday’s global terror alert came as French authorities stumbled onto an explosives vest close to where fugitive terrorist Salah Abdeslam used his cellphone the day of the deadly attacks in Paris. A street cleaner in the Montrouge neighborhood discovered the explosives — without a detonator — in a pile of trash, police officials said.
President Obama will meet with French President Francois Hollande at the White House to talk about beefing up the battle against ISIS.
The vest contained bolts and the same type of explosives that seven of the murderers used in suicide bombings on Nov. 13, police told The Telegraph.
Investigators believe Abdeslam may have decided at the last moment not to carry out a fourth suicide bombing planned for the City of Light. Abdeslam, 26, remained at large Monday.
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An unidentified friend of the fugitive told Belgian news sources that Abdeslam was “overwhelmed” and “told me he had gone too far” during the killings. The jittery jihadi also reportedly fears other Islamic State terrorists will kill him because he didn’t “complete his task” by committing suicide after the attacks.
Abdeslam was briefly stopped by French authorities the day after the Paris tragedy but then allowed to continue into Belgium.
The frenzied manhunt for Abdeslam and other possible conspirators put the city of Brussels on a tense, three-day lockdown over the weekend, officials said. Citing a “serious and imminent” threat of attack, Belgium’s prime minister on Monday said the city will stay at the highest alert level for several days. City schools and subways will be closed until Wednesday, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said.
He said officials are doing “everything in our power to keep the situation under control.”
Spectators gather on the pitch of the Stade de France stadium following the football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis on Nov. 13 after the terror attacks.
Authorities have been tight-lipped about the details of possible threats to the city — but they have conducted several raids that resulted in arrests.
French President Francois Hollande paid a visit Monday to the Bataclan concert hall, which bore the brunt of the synchronized slaughter unleashed on Paris. Four ISIS gunmen stormed into the Bataclan and killed 89 people there.
Hollande was accompanied on his solemn visit by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who said he wants the U.K. to join the U.S., France, Russia and other nations in bombing Islamic State strongholds in Syria.
On Tuesday, Hollande will visit the White House to meet with President Obama about strengthening the international coalition against ISIS extremists.
Hollande also plans to head to Germany afterward to talk to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, then to Moscow Thursday for a sit-down with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
With News Wire Services
- terrorism ,
- isis ,
- boko haram ,
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