US State Department urges vigilance on travel to Europe | News | DW | 03.05.2017
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US State Department urges vigilance on travel to Europe

The US State Department has warned Americans about traveling to Europe due to the ongoing risk of terrorism. The alert said US citizens "should always be alert" as attacks could occur with "little to no warning."

The US State Department highlighted recent attacks in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom that demonstrate that the self-styled "Islamic State," al Qaeda, and other groups "have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe."

The four named countries have experienced terror incidents this spring, often carried out by lone attackers who were inspired by radical Islamist ideology. Most recently, the United Kingdom arrested individuals accused of plotting future acts or terror.

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While acknowledging ongoing counterterror efforts, the State Department said it "remains concerned" about the possibility of future attacks on European soil undertaken by "terrorist sympathizers" or "self-radicalized extremists" who provide "little or no warning."

The alert issued on Monday came just before the start of the summer travel season, when many Americans travel to Europe.

Read more: Should I go? the impact of government advisories for travelers to Europe

A long list of locations

The alert included an extensive list of "priority locations" for extremist attackers: "tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities," as well as "hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions, airports, and other soft targets" are all places where Americans should remain especially vigilant.

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Queen wird den Buckingham Palast räumen müssen (Getty Images/R. Stothard)

Many American tourists travel to European capitals over the summer to take in the sights

The State Department emphasized their partnership with European nations in combating international terror threats but reminded travelers that local authorities are ultimately "responsible for the safety and security of all visitors to their host country" and urged Americans to review the information from local authorities.

The State Department also encouraged US citizens to seek out country-specific information until the travel alert expires on September 1, 2017.

It is not the first time the US has issued a travel warning for Europe. The department issued a similar alert from November 2016 to February 2017, as well as a prior summer travel alert last year.

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