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Americans Are Warned About Overseas Travel

By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

The State Department issued an updated worldwide caution on terrorism yesterday, warning Americans about the threat of extremist violence against U.S. citizens and interests abroad.

The warning did not list countries, nor did department officials offer any additional specifics about threats. The statement said "current information" indicates that al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups are planning attacks against U.S. interests in "multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East."

The department's official caution, which supersedes an alert issued in March, said attacks against private and official targets could come in the form of assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings or bombings.

The targets could include places where Americans meet or visit, such as residential areas, hotels and restaurants, as well as places of worship, schools, clubs, business offices and public areas, the caution said. It also noted that "demonstrations and rioting" can occur with little or no warning.

As causes of concern, the department cited spillover from the U.S. intervention in Iraq in and outside the Middle East, as well as other recent terrorist attacks in Europe. "Ongoing events in Iraq have resulted in demonstrations and associated violence in several countries; such events are likely to continue for the foreseeable future," the statement said. "U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain a high level of vigilance, be aware of local events, and take the appropriate steps to bolster their personal security."

For more information, Americans can check http://travel.state.gov or call 888-407-4747 in the United States or 202-501-4444 from abroad.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company