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State Department issues travel alert for all of Europe this summer

Just in time for the summer tourist season, the State Department has issued a new travel alert for all of Europe because of the threat of terrorist attacks on the continent.

This is the fourth travel alert for Europe in the last year. There were only four months since March of 2016 when the State Department wasn't advising Americans to be careful because of the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe. The most recent one went out last November, to encompass the Christmas holidays and skiing season, and expired in February.

The latest one cites incidents attributed to the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in France, Russia, Sweden and Britain. It does not mention any specific intelligence suggesting the State Department believes an attack is about to happen, but expresses a general concern about the potential for more attacks.

“U.S. citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathizers or self-radicalized extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning,” the alert states before listing potential targets that are pretty much anywhere people gather: tourist locales, transportation hubs, markets and shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions and airports.

U.S. citizens traveling to Europe are urged to check the websites of the U.S. embassies and consulates for security messages, keep in touch with friends and family so they know your whereabouts and check local media for updates at the destination. They also encourage people to register in the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

This travel alert expires Sept. 1 … unless, of course, it's extended.

Read more:

45 years of terrorist attacks in Europe, visualized

How terrorism in the West compares to terrorism everywhere else