by Lisa A. Grimaldi | November 22, 2016

The Department of State has issued an alert for U.S. citizens traveling to Europe, citing the heightened risk of terrorist attacks, particularly during the holiday season and at holiday festivals, events and outdoor markets. The alert is in effect through Feb. 20, 2017. The warning states:

Credible information indicates the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or Da'esh), al-Qa'ida and their affiliates continue to plan terrorist attacks in Europe, with a focus on the upcoming holiday season and associated events. U.S. citizens should also be alert to the possibility that extremist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists might conduct attacks during this period with little or no warning. Terrorists might employ a wide variety of tactics, using both conventional and nonconventional weapons, and targeting both official and private interests. 

While extremists have carried out attacks in Belgium, France, Germany and Turkey in the past year, the Department remains concerned about the potential for attacks throughout Europe. 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.

U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when attending large holiday events, visiting tourist sites, using public transportation and frequenting places of worship, restaurants, hotels, etc. Be aware of your immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds when possible. Review security information from local officials, who are responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country.  

The full alert, including safety and security recommendations, can be found here.