ALERT: U.S. State Department Adresses ‘Likelihood of Terror Attacks’
Despite President Obama’s claims that radical Islamic terror groups like ISIS, or the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as the president calls it, have been contained, the rest of his administration apparently is not in complete agreement with that assessment.
Citing militant attacks in France, Denmark, Turkey, Nigeria and Mali this year, the United States Department of State took the rare step of issuing a global travel alert to Americans warning them of the danger posed by “Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups that continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions.”
Travel alerts of this kind are usually related to man-made events in specific countries, such active war or on-going crime waves, natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquake aftershocks, or disease contagion, such as a rise in Ebola cases.
This warning, however, is global and the State Department makes it clear that it is directly attributable to the actions of radical Islamic extremists in attacking the West.
The State Department’s action comes at the beginning of the holiday season in the United States with Thanksgiving week being the busiest travel time of the year followed closely by Christmas and New Year’s.
With nearly 50 million travellers expected to be headed home for turkey dinner and football this weekend, the official travel alert was specific about the recommended precautions to guard against terror threats.
“U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. 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.”
Although the government has not pinpointed a specific terrorist organization or threats, the language used in the travel alert made it clear that not only are terror organizations suspected of planning attacks, but individuals inspired by the groups are also a concern.
“Additionally, there is a continuing threat from unaffiliated persons planning attacks inspired by major terrorist organizations but conducted on an individual basis.”
The warning extends for 90-days, though February 24, 2016 and is directed not only to travel by air, trains and buses, but to sporting events, holiday gatherings such as community tree lightings and parades common during this time of year.
National Football League football games and college bowl games drawing upwards of 75,000 in attendance are also considered to be prime targets following the terror attacks at the Paris Stade de France.
Super Bowl 50 will be held at the outdoor Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco on February 7, 2016 with an expected attendance of 75,000 fans in addition to members of the media and half-time entertainers.