US citizens in Europe, and those with plans to visit, were given a warning by the State Department yesterday to “take every precaution” because of the elevated threat of terrorist attacks that could be aimed at popular tourist spots as well as transportation hubs.
After the alert was issued yesterday morning in Washington DC, British Home Secretary Theresa May said it was consistent with the British view of the threat. The Foreign Office warned of a “high threat” of attacks in countries including France and Germany.
The warnings come after several days of media reports, partly confirmed by government sources, of new intelligence suggesting that attacks in Europe may be imminent and may resemble the 2008 commando-style assaults in Mumbai, India, that left more than 170 people dead.
No individual countries were singled out in the American alert. Officials noted also that there were still no plans last night for the US administration to issue a more grave travel “warning”, which would explicitly encourage Americans to stay away from European destinations. The purpose of the alert, they said, was to ensure vigilance.
“US citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems as well as other tourist infrastructure,” the State Department said.
“Terrorists have targeted and attacked subway and rail systems, as well as aviation and maritime services.”
Almost simultaneously yesterday, the Foreign Office upgraded its travel advisory about France and Germany, telling Britons that the threat of terrorist actions in those countries was considered high. Previously, the risk in Germany and France had been pegged as “general” by London.