WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — The U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Monday, warning U.S. citizens of possible travel risks due to terrorist threats.
The alert expires on Feb. 24 of next year. As CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported, it was issued amid current information indicating that ISIS, al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups have been planning more attacks in multiple reasons.READ MORE: Firefighters Battle 4-Alarm Blaze On Upper East Side
Authorities believe the likelihood of attacks will continue as ISIS members return to their home countries from training in Syria in Iraq, the State Department said. But there is also a threat from unaffiliated people who might undertake lone wolf attacks, the State Department said.
Extremists have already targeted large sporting events, as well as theaters, open markets and aviation services. The State Department pointed out that terrorists attacked on Nov. 13 in Paris and last week in Mali, as well as in Nigeria, Denmark and Turkey.
ISIS has also claimed responsibility for taking down a Russian jet in Egypt, the State Department pointed out.
Given all that, U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance in public places or in public transportation, and should be aware of their surroundings and avoid large crowds, the State Department said. U.S. citizens should also use particular caution during the holidays and at holiday festivals or events, the State Department said.
U.S. citizens should also monitor local news and information, and contact local police in the event of any specific security concerns, the State Department said.
Alerts from the State Department usually focus on travel to specific countries for specific reasons, but the warning Monday is global. Security experts said that means you should be on alert wherever you go.
“It’s basically saying that something will probably happen – or is very likely to happen – in a large scale,” said security and terrorism expert Manny Gomez.
Officials urged that when traveling, you should follow the instructions of local officials, expect additional security screening, stay in touch with family so they know how to contact you, and register with STEP – the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program that provides assistance in emergency while traveling abroad.READ MORE: Tri-State Officials Bracing For Omicron Variant Urge Everyone To Get Vaccinated And Get Boosters
At John F. Kennedy International Airport, travelers gave mixed responses to 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.
“Hey we’re all kind of worried,” one woman said. “You know, every time someone act a little weird.”
One woman, Veronica, said she had no hesitation about flying to Madrid.
“Just like I wouldn’t hesitate to go out to a cafe and enjoy time with my friends,” she said. “Just because things like that happen, we should sit around at home and be scared.”
Melinda Hogan of Harlem said there was concern, but not enough to be paralyzing.
“I think there is a little bit of fear, or worrisome,” she said. “But I’m not to the point of not walking along 34th Street.”
Also Monday, a Joint Intelligence bulletin from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security was distributed to law enforcement across the country, CBS News has learned.
Heading into Thanksgiving, the bulletin warned of ISIS’ new tactics 10 days after the Paris attacks. The information does not reveal new details about the attacks, but does seek to give police across the country tools to counter the new threat, CBS News reported.MORE NEWS: Advocates: Put Holiday Consumerism Aside For A Second And Remember Giving Tuesday Is About Helping The Less Fortunate
Agencies across the country have been retraining officers in active shooting drills – including one in a Lower Manhattan subway station this past weekend. While federal law enforcement officials have emphasized there is no specific or credible threat to the U.S., security has also been heightened at airports and other locations, CBS News reported.