(Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of State issued this travel alert after French police made arrests yesterday related to planned attacks by ISIS on Christmas markets in France.)
The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to the heightened risk of terrorist attacks throughout Europe, particularly during the holiday season.
U.S. citizens should exercise caution at holiday festivals, events, and outdoor markets. This Travel Alert expires on February 20, 2017.
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 may conduct attacks during this period with little or no warning. Terrorists may employ a wide variety of tactics, using both conventional and non-conventional 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 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. U.S. citizens should:
- Follow the instructions of local authorities. Monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities.
- Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions.
- Stay in touch with your family members and ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
- Have an emergency plan of action ready.
- Register in our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
European authorities continue to conduct raids and disrupt terror plots. We continue to work closely with our European allies on the threat from international terrorism. Information is routinely shared between the United States and our key partners in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action against potential operatives, and strengthen our defenses against potential threats.
For more information:
- See the Department of State’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.