US issues worldwide travel caution to its citizens travelling overseas
Washington, Dec 7: The US issued a "worldwide caution" to its citizens travelling overseas, urging them to exercise caution in the wake of President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as it may trigger violent protests.
The travel advisory includes South Asia in particular Afghanistan and Pakistan in addition to the Muslim-majority countries.
"As terrorist attacks, political upheaval, and violence often take place without any warning, US citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness when travelling," the State Department said.
The latest worldwide caution replaces the previous alert issued on September 14 this year. The US government facilities worldwide remain in a heightened state of alert, the advisory said, adding that these facilities may temporarily close or periodically suspend public services to assess their security posture.
Terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qaeda, their associates, and those inspired by such groups, are intent on attacking US citizens wherever they are, the department said. Extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons to target US government and private interests, it said. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack to more effectively target crowds, including the use of edged weapons, pistols, and vehicles as weapons, the alert said.
There are terrorists, guerrilla, and insurgent groups in some parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, and the potential for al- Qaeda or ISIS-inspired attacks is high in several West African countries and countries bordering Somalia. Armed terrorist and criminal groups are operating in the East Asian and Pacific region and may attempt to target US citizens, particularly for kidnapping in the coastal areas and outlying islands of the eastern part of the Malaysian state of Sabah and the southern Philippines, the State Department said.
Further terrorist groups continue to plot attacks in Europe as foreign fighters return home from Syria and Iraq, while other individuals may be radicalised or inspired by ISIS propaganda, it said. Noting that terrorist groups are very active in the Middle East and North Africa, it said the US government remains highly concerned about possible attacks against US citizens, facilities, businesses, and perceived US and Western interests in the region.
Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Libya are considered violent and unpredictable war zones, and there is no official US diplomatic presence in the latter three countries, it said.
The US government assesses terrorist groups in South Asia may be planning attacks in the region, possibly against US facilities, citizens, and interests, it said, adding that citizens should avoid travel to Afghanistan, as no region in the country is immune from violence.
"A number of established terrorist organisations, indigenous sectarian groups, and other militants pose a danger to US citizens in Pakistan. Extremist elements are also active in India, as outlined in a recent emergency message. Terrorists have hit a wide variety of targets and institutions in Bangladesh," the State Department said.