US State Department issues worldwide travel alert due to terrori - KPTV - FOX 12

US State Department issues worldwide travel alert due to terrorist threats

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

The US State Department issued a worldwide travel alert Monday, due to increased terrorist threats.

The departments says that 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, according to their website. 

Authorities believe the likelihood of terror attacks will continue as members of ISIL/Da’esh return from Syria and Iraq, according to the department.

“The alert seems pretty vague, I think it would be sad if people were afraid to travel,” said Portland visitor Ted Dale.  “Basically the people who are doing these things, have kind of already beaten us to the punch. If we’re all afraid then it’s a sad state for us, I think.”

But, beyond being watchful for suspicious behavior on public transportation, the state department is now urging people to avoid large crowds and use extreme caution at holiday events. It’s a difficult thought for Civil War goers, Black Friday shoppers and people wanting to celebrate the season this week. Especially, they say, because the warning is so ambiguous.

“There’s a lot of negative stuff that’s coming out, and it stereotypes a lot of people,” said Portland resident Yesenia Carmolinga. “For me to read into it, it’s not something that I want to listen to, or be a part of.”

Local criminologist Randy Blazak says until people get more specific information of an attack, he believes people likely won’t take this warning seriously.

“I think people now are sort of taking this as the background noise of modern living, and I don’t think it’s really registered,” said Criminologist Randy Blazak.

Blazak also thinks the alert could also open the door to prejudice.

“The level of xenophobia is sort of amped up in people who normally wouldn’t be racist, and they are saying all kinds of things and that’s frightening,” said Blazak.

The Travel Alert expires on February 24, 2016, according to state department’s website. Until then, they say, people should be prepared for additional security screenings and unexpected disruptions.

The state department says anyone with any specific safety concerns should not hesitate to call police, right away.  

For further information:

·         See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.

·         Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

·         Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

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