State Department issues travel alert for Europe

In the wake of Tuesday’s bombings in Brussels, the U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens traveling in Europe.

“The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to potential risks of travel to and throughout Europe following several terrorist attacks, including the March 22 attacks in Brussel,” the advisory read.

The Travel Alert is in effect through June 20.

Responsibility for the attacks was claimed by the terrorist group ISIS. According to the warning, more attacks are a very real possibility.

“Terrorist groups continue to plan near-term attacks throughout Europe, targeting sporting events, tourist sites, restaurants, and transportation,” the advisory continued, noting that,” U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.”

The State Department added that U.S. citizens should also:
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities, especially in an emergency.
  • 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.
The advisory also recommended that travelers register in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

STEP provides enrolled travelers with several beneficial services including important information from the Embassy about safety conditions in the traveler’s destination country, helping them make informed decisions about their travel plans. It also aids the U.S. Embassy in contacting the traveler in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or family emergency. Registration in the program can also help family and friends reach the traveler in an emergency.

European governments continue to guard against terrorist attacks and conduct raids to disrupt plots, the advisory continued.

“We work closely with our allies and will continue to share information with our European partners that will help identify and counter terrorist threats,” the advisory concluded.

For the most up-to-date information, travelers should visit the Worldwide Caution page of the State Department’s website.

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