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U.S. issues worldwide travel alert, warns of ‘increased terrorist threats’

The U.S. State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert, warning American citizens of “possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats,” and urging “particular caution” during the holiday season.

The travel alert, which is in addition to the Worldwide Caution, comes just over a week after coordinated attacks in Paris left 130 people dead and hundreds more wounded. It also comes just weeks after a bomb exploded on board a Russian passenger plane as it flew over Egypt's Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board. The Islamic State (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for both.

“The State Department alerts U.S. citizens to possible risks of travel due to increased terrorist threats,” the travel alert said. “Current information suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.”

The U.S. State Department said it believes the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as ISIS members return from Syria and Iraq, and a continuing threat exists from persons who are inspired by terrorist organizations but are working on their own.

"U.S. citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowed places," the travel alert said. "Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events. U.S. citizens should monitor media and local information sources and factor updated information into personal travel plans and activities."

The travel alert expires on February 24.

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