Dept of State issues worldwide caution for U. S. citizens anywhere
Continued threat of terrorist attacks and violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests
by U.S. Department of State
February 1, 2011
The U.S. Department of State has issued a Worldwide Caution to update information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world.
January 31, 2011: U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. This replaces the Worldwide Caution dated August 12, 2010, to provide updated information on security threats and terrorist activities worldwide.
The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas. U.S. citizens are reminded that demonstrations and rioting can occur with little or no warning. Current information suggests that Al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics including suicide operations, assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings, and bombings.
Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests. Examples of such targets include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, and locales where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays.
U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services. In the past several years, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, and Glasgow.
Current information suggests that Al-Qaida and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against U.S. and Western interests in Europe. European governments have taken action to guard against terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions. In the past several years, attacks have been planned or occurred in various European cities.
Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek to continue attacks against U.S. interests in the Middle East and North Africa. For example, Iraq remains dangerous and unpredictable. Attacks against military and civilian targets throughout Iraq continue. Methods of attack have included roadside improvised explosive devices, mortars, and shootings; kidnappings still occur as well. Security threat levels remain high in Yemen due to terrorist activities there. The U.S. Embassy has had to close several times in response to ongoing threats by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). U.S. citizens as well as other Westerners have been targeted for attack in Yemen. U.S. citizens have also been the targets of numerous terrorist attacks in Lebanon in the past (though none recently) and the threat of anti-Western terrorist activity continues to exist there. In Algeria, terrorist attacks occur regularly, particularly in the Kabylie region of the country. In the past, terrorists have targeted oil processing facilities in both Saudi Arabia and Yemen. A number of Al-Qaida operatives and other extremists are believed to be operating in and around Africa. Since the July 11, 2010, terrorist bombings in Kampala, Uganda, for which the Somalia-based, U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility, there have been increased threats against public areas across East Africa. The terrorist attacks of August and September 2010 against the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AU) peacekeeping forces in Somalia, as well as the bombing of hotels and minibuses in Somalia, highlight the vulnerabilities to terrorist attacks in East Africa and around the world.
Additionally, the terrorist group, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), has declared its intention to attack Western targets throughout the Sahel (which includes Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), and has claimed responsibility for kidnappings, attempted kidnappings, and the murder of several Westerners.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs, Department of State – Worldwide Caution