The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide terror alert Friday after credible information obtained by intelligence agencies suggested al-Qaida and other affiliated organizations may stage an attack between now and August 31.
The alert warns U.S. travelers, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa and especially surrounding the Arabian Peninsula, to take caution. According to the State Department:
Terrorists may elect to use a variety of means and weapons and target both official and private interests. U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.
The alert also urges citizens to exercise vigilance, and “to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling.”
U.S. travelers with plans to travel abroad are encouraged to register their travel plans with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website at travel.state.gov. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) provides travelers with security updates and helps ease communication between the U.S. Embassy or consulates in the regions you will travel to, in case of an emergency.
For the latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State’s Internet website at travel.state.gov where theWorldwide Caution, Country Specific Information, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. A free Smart Traveler app, available through iTunes or Google Play, is also available.
In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or, from other countries, on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday, Eastern Time (except U.S. federal holidays).