The State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Friday afternoon, warning Americans traveling abroad to be “maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness."
"The Department of State is updating the Worldwide Caution to provide information on the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against U.S. citizens and interests throughout the world," the federal agency said in a bulletin posted online.
The news comes on the heels of the terror attack against a French satirical newspaper in Paris that concluded Friday when authorities shot the suspects dead after an hours-long standoff with hostages. At least 19 individuals, including the three terrorists, were killed in relation to the events that unfolded in the last few days.
"The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas," the State Department said, warning that "authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia."
[sharequote align="center"]"The Department of State remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks..."[/sharequote]
"Kidnappings and hostage events involving U.S. citizens have become increasingly prevalent as ISIL, al Qa`ida and its affiliates have increased attempts to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations," the bulletin continued.
"Extremists may elect to use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests," it added.
The State Department bulletin also noted that terrorists may target "public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure."
The State Department previously issued a worldwide travel alert in mid-December, following the hostage crisis that unfolded in Sydney, Australia.
Follow Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) on Twitter