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U.S. issues alert for travelers

By Daniel Fuchs
Published: October 2010

The State Department sent out an alert in early October for American tourists planning to travel to Western European countries such as Britain and France.
Britain’s Tourism Department did the same, raising its own terror watch level for citizens and tourists traveling to France and Germany.
Both European and American government agencies have reason to believe an attack from terrorists in Pakistan or Northern Africa is being planned after a captured militant who may have ties to the September 11 hijackers, Ahmed Siddiqui, provided information detailing plans for attacks across Europe. A number of other terror suspects and sources have verified the intelligence.
“Current information suggests that Al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks. European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack, the State Department said. European governments have begun to track suspects across the continent.
Governments such as France and Japan, have been quick to issue their own alerts for tourists traveling in Europe and stand by the State Department’s initial warning. Other governments, such as Germany, are annoyed by the alerts.
“There is no dissent that we face an intense, abstract danger, one German official said to the New York Times. The Pakistani government, as well, expressed criticism over the alerts, calling them “politically motivated.
Few citizens seem to be frightened by the risks of European travel.
Many Americans have not altered their plans to travel, made clear by the lack of change in shares of major US-Europe airline companies, such as Delta, United, and Continental Airlines. At this point in time, however, many airlines believe that it is too early to tell how Americans will react.
The US State Department made it clear that they do not wish to send tourists away from Europe, but rather urge them to be wary and alert when traveling to European countries.
“US citizens should take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings and to adopt appropriate safety measures to protect themselves when traveling, the State Department said.

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