The US State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert for its citizens citing “increased terror threats” from militant groups in various regions of the world on Monday following the terror attacks in France and Mali.
According to the US State Department, the alert comes after learning information that ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan attacks in multiple regions by employing a “wide variety of tactics”.
Ahead of US Thanksgiving Holiday, millions of Americans travel worldwide and in light of this the terror alert has been issued according to the US State Department.
The department did not advise people against travel but asked its citizens to “exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation” and “avoid large crowds or crowded places.”
The worldwide travel alert expires on Feb. 24, 2016.
The State Department has regularly issued such worldwide travel alerts since the 9/11 attacks on US.
Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIS return from Iraq and Syria, as well as the threat from “unaffiliated persons” planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations.
The State Department on its website says: “Current information suggests that (Islamic State), Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.”
Such an alert was also issued after multiple attacks in the past year in Nigeria, Denmark, Turkey and most recently in France and Mali, as well as the bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt, for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
The State Department asked its citizens to update all current information into personal travel plans and also urged anyone with specific safety concerns to contact local law enforcement authorities immediately.
According to a State Department official, worldwide alerts “are issued periodically when there is a higher threat level,” but are different from warnings tied to a particular event, like an election or hurricane.
“We want folks to still travel, but just to exercise greater vigilance,” the official said.
U.S. is also exchanging information with allies about threats of international terrorism.
The travel alert was issued the same day that Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel announced that Brussels would remain at the highest alert level for at least another week.
France and Belgium have launched a massive manhunt following the Paris attacks with particular focus on a Brussels barkeeper Salah Abdeslam,26, who returned to Brussels from Paris hours after the attacks.
The increased security measures have virtually shut down the Belgian capital.