by Lisa A. Grimaldi | November 21, 2017
The U.S. Department of State has issued an alert to U.S. citizens regarding the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season. The alert, which expires Jan. 31, 2018, recommends that U.S. citizens exercise caution at holiday festivals and events. 
 
The alert states, "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. 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 State 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 might conduct attacks with little or no warning. 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."
 
The State Department further cautions, "If you are traveling between countries in Europe, please check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in your destination city for any recent security messages. Review security information from local officials, who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country."
 
The full statement can be viewed here.