The United States State Department has issued a travel alert for Americans visiting Europe this summer, warning that terrorist and extremist attacks could go off with little or no warning.
The Europe travel alert urges Americans to be alert to the possibility of an ISIS-led attack, following a string of incidents reported in France, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
American citizens are being warned to be especially vigilant while visiting busy tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls and local government facilities.
The list of places to avoid or exercise caution at continues, with hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, high-profile events, educational institutions and airports identified as possible soft targets for attacks.
“U.S. citizens should exercise additional vigilance in these and similar locations, in particular during the upcoming summer travel season when large crowds may be common,” reads the alert.
Tactics include the use of firearms, explosives, vehicles as ramming devices and sharp-edged weapons that are difficult to detect prior to an attack, the warning adds.
Citizens traveling to Europe are advised to check the website of the U.S. embassy or consulate in their destination city and to review security information from local officials.
In the event of an attack, travelers are also reminded to follow the instructions of local authorities, monitor media, be prepared for additional security screening and unexpected disruptions and to stay in touch with family members.
They are also encouraged to have an emergency plan of action and to register in the U.S. government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service that sends important security information to U.S. travelers abroad, and makes it easier for the government to locate citizens in the event of an emergency, whether it be a natural disaster, civil unrest of family emergency.
The travel alert expires September 1.