The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday afternoon, warning Americans traveling abroad to be "extra cautious" because of a new intelligence analysis.
"The lone wolf attack in Sydney, Australia on December 15, 2014, resulting in the deaths of two hostages, is a reminder that U.S. citizens should be extra cautious, maintain a very high level of vigilance, and take appropriate steps to enhance their personal security," the travel alert said. "This Travel Alert expires on March 19, 2015."
[sharequote align="right"]"U.S. citizens abroad should be mindful that terrorist groups ... can pose unpredictable threats in public venues."[/sharequote]
The alert warned that intelligence indicates terrorists are focusing on civilian targets, as well as U.S. government facilities.
"An analysis of past attacks and threat reporting strongly suggests a focus by terrorists not only on the targeting of U.S. government facilities but also on hotels, shopping areas, places of worship, and schools, among other targets, during or coinciding with this holiday period," it said.
"U.S. citizens abroad should be mindful that terrorist groups and those inspired by them can pose unpredictable threats in public venues. U.S. citizens should remain alert to local conditions and for signs of danger," the travel alert added.
The State Department suggested U.S. citizens traveling abroad enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program which provides real-time alerts on security updates.
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