U.S. diplomats have issued an alert to travelers citing the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season, according to the website of the U.S. State Department
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, the U.S. diplomats say.
“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. While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks. U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning,” the report says.
The U.S. Department of State says extremists continue to focus on 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.
U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations. “Terrorists persist in employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devices, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack,” reads the report.