Tourists warned of 'heightened risk' of Christmas holiday terror attacks in Europe

BERLIN: Christmas market BERLIN: Christmas market Shutterstock

THE US State Department has warned Americans travelling abroad there is a "heightened risk of terrorist attacks" at tourist attractions across Europe – including Spain - in the coming weeks.

And travel advice for Spain on the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office website continues to say, “Terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in Spain. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. The Spanish authorities take measures to protect visitors, but you should be vigilant and follow the instructions of the local authorities.” 

The new US alert, which expires on January 31, 2018  warns US holidaymakers to be on alert at ‘soft targets’ including tourist attractions, airports, shopping centres, hotels and restaurants over the coming weeks.

It cited recent massacres in London, Manchester and Barcelona.

America's State Department issued a similar alert last year just weeks before a terrorist ploughed a stolen his truck into pedestrians at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 11.

The alert said, "Terrorists persist in employing a variety of tactics, including firearms, explosives, using vehicles as ramming devices, and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack." 

"Recent, widely-reported incidents in France, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Finland demonstrate that the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS or Da’esh), al-Qaeda, and their affiliates have the ability to plan and execute terrorist attacks in Europe.

"Last year, mass casualty attacks occurred at a Christmas market in Berlin, Germany in December and a nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey on New Year’s Eve.

"While local governments continue counterterrorism operations, the Department remains concerned about the potential for future terrorist attacks.

"US citizens should always be alert to the possibility that terrorist sympathisers or self-radicalised extremists may conduct attacks with little or no warning."

Spain’s terror threat warning remains at 4 (high) one down from the ‘very high’ alert (5).

The current threat level for international terrorism in the UK is ‘severe’ and for Northern Ireland-related terrorism is ‘substantial’.

Nivel 4 NAA

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