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May 4, 2017

 
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U.S. Department of State Issued
a Europe-Wide Travel Warning



 
 
On May 1st, the U.S. Department of State issued a Europe-wide travel alert. The warning covers a period of 4 months ranging from May 1st to September 1st. This alert is meant as a reminder for travelers going to Europe during this period of the current elevated terrorist threat in the region. 

While the warning highlights the ongoing capacity of radical Islamist groups to conduct attacks in European countries, there is no publically available intelligence pertaining to an imminent and direct terrorist threat in Europe.

Moreover, the warning does not single out any specific European country, and the U.S. Department of State did not issue any new mitigation measures U.S. citizens should take while in Europe. If, in the future, the U.S. State Department is made aware of specific threats, consular services in the targeted countries would issue a specific alert covering the date and location at risk.
 

HIGH-PROFILE DATES & EVENTS

Several high-profile events will take place during the period covered by the Travel Alert. Below is a non-exhaustive list of key dates and major events that are likely to trigger heightened security concerns.  At this point, there is no intelligence pertaining to terrorist threats during these events; however, governments have in the past issued warnings ahead of such dates. 

Sporting events
• May 22nd to June 11th – France: Rolland Garros tennis tournament
• June 3rd – United Kingdom: UEFA Champions League Final
• July 3rd to 16th – United Kingdom: Wimbledon tennis tournament

Elections
• May 7th – France: Presidential Elections
• June 8th – United Kingdom: General Elections
• June 11th & 18th – France: Parliamentary Elections

Religious events
• May 26th to June 24th: Islamic Holy Month of Ramadan
• August 15th: Assumption Day (Christian)
Public holidays and other significant dates
• May 9th – Russia: Victory Day
• July 14th – France: Bastille Day
• July 21st – Belgium: National Day 
 



TERRORIST THREATS IN EUROPE

Single assailant and crude attacks
Terrorist groups are devoting more attention to propaganda to inspire lone self-radicalised actors. Individuals or small groups will likely attempt to conduct attacks using knives, axes, small arms, improvised explosive devices, and vehicle-ramming. Terrorists are likely to continue to favour striking individual members of the security forces and soft targets such as public transport hubs, religious buildings, shopping centres, bars, night-clubs, restaurants, and so on.

This threat makes it difficult to secure public locations against low-capability attacks, which have a lower risk of detection for the perpetrators.

Specific threats during summer period
The summer period generates fresh security challenges throughout Europe as holidays will see large volumes of leisure travellers reach resorts throughout the region. There is a realistic possibility that radical Islamist militants will try to take advantage of this situation to carry out high-profile attacks causing mass casualties. 

Counter-terrorist raids
European governments will continue to conduct periodic anti-terrorist raids. Such operations generally do not lead to any security concern for the wider public but may result in a temporary heightened risk of exposure to localised violence and movement restrictions. Militants may try to carry out retaliatory attacks following successful anti-terrorist raids.


RECOMMENDATIONS

If you are traveling to Europe, please check the website of your local embassy or consulate for any recent security updates and review security information from local officials. Travelers should also:

- Follow the instructions of local authorities. 
- Monitor media and local information sources and adjust their personal travel plans and activities accordingly.
- Be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions, especially at airports, major train stations, main tourist sites and museums.
- Share with your family members your travel itinerary and stay in touch regularly to ensure they know how to reach you in the event of an emergency.
- Save key phone numbers of your country’s embassy and family members to contact in case of an emergency.
- U.S. citizens can register to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). For citizens of other countries contact your countries’ consular services to know if similar enrolment programs are available.

 
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More Info

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The content of this edition of AssistAlert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace further investigation or personal observations. If you are planning travel, or are traveling in or proximate to the locations identified in this newsletter, you are encouraged to contact SecurAssist for additional information.


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