|Charissa Echavez |||Nov 23, 2015 11:45 PM EST|
(Photo : Getty Image) Following the spate of terror attacks worldwide, the US State Department issued travel warnings to its citizens.
With the Thanksgiving and Yuletide holidays coming and the recent spate of terror attacks and threats obtaining everywhere, the U.S. State Department on Monday issued a travel alert to all its citizens living or transiting across three continents. The travel alert, the first to be released this year, will be in effect until Feb. 24, 2016.
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In the statement, the government warned American citizens that terrorist groups like the Islamic State, Boko Haram and al-Qaida "continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and nonconventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests."
It is not unsual for the State Department to issue travel advisories, but alerts are seldom issued. Although it did not warn against imminent attacks, it encouraged citizens to step up precautionary measures when traveling.
Reports have been circulating that Islamic State fighters travel to Iraq and Syria to undergo intensive training, and then return to their hometowns in Europe or elsewhere to mount terror attacks.
"Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis," the travel alert said.
It urged U.S. citizens to be extra vigilant when in public places or taking public transport, as many past attacks have happened in crowded venues such as theaters, markets, parks, airports and train stations.
"Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events," the travel alert said.
"It is important to note that, at present, we know of no credible and specific intelligence indicating a Paris-like plot on the U.S. homeland," Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security secretary, wrote on the agency's website.
"But, the public should know that those of us in national security, homeland security, and law enforcement are working overtime to monitor threats, continually evaluate our security posture, and guard the homeland," he added.
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